What’s all this about changing the voting age to 16? Is Nicola Sturgeon completely losing the plot? If I had been worrying about the policies of Edward Heath and wondering which party I should back to get rid of him and his posh yacht Morning Cloud, then I could have turned out very different – and so could the country.
Instead, I spent my spare time when I was 16 and 17 doing what we did best in the 1970s. Drinking and finding out about real life. And there were few better places to see gritty realism in those days than through the bottom of a pint glass in the scruffiest alehouses of Stornoway like the Clachan Bar, the Star Inn or, if someone else was buying, that compact and bijou little lounge upstairs in the County Hotel.
Or, if we only had enough for a few cans between us, we would head off to the castle grounds. The more biologically aware among us would pick white mushrooms up by Strawberry Hill to bake on a ripped-open beer can. That aroma was heavenly and the mushies helped soak up the bevvy before we headed back to the school hostel.
Good job, we were in the grounds of Lews Castle and not Buckingham Palace or we could have got ourselves even more out of it. It seems that the fungus growing around Her Majesty’s main London residence are, in fact, what we called magic mushies. They were magic not because they were usually red with white spots but because they made you see and hear things that weren’t actually there and invariably had you gibbering away to yourself.
Our old hostel warden will be reading this and thinking: “So that is why Maciver and company were so dozy when they came back in.” Dozy? I was virtually comatose. How do you think all the members of the Royal Family look so serene? It’s just what us well-bred people do.
There was a downside though. The mushies gave me a severe case of the trots – more of a case of the gallops, to be honest – and that distressing condition seemed to take a long time to pass. No thanks, if I want to end up blabbing pointlessly to myself I just shout to Mrs X and ask her if she has any quids she can give me to go to the pub. Ah, the sound of silence.
Anyway, does Nicola Sturgeon really want to divert our nation’s youth from such a wonderful learning experience as interacting with the great parched pub-goer in their formative years? It did me no harm, he said hopefully. Would she rather teenagers should all be listening to the likes of new Labour leader Jim Murphy and herself vying for our attention as they vow in turn, each with their most serious face on, to make a better Scotland for us all? Come oan, gie’s a break. Tender young brains should not be forced to assimilate such nonsense and false promises until they are at least 21. Aye, I would raise the voting age, not lower it.
And another thing, it goes against biblical teaching to be introduced to politics too early. “Rejoice , O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth …” That’s Ecclesiastes 11:9 and verily, verily I say unto thee that it would be impossible for anyone to rejoice while listening to the monotone Mr Murphy. He does go on.
Like Rangers manager Ally McCoist. How can anyone put in his notice to quit and immediately get rewarded by having their salary bumped up to £750,000? That’s not going to work. Given a bit of time, the fans will turn on him, and the cash-strapped club. How long until we hear Super Ally is leaving to spend more time with his adviser on super tax. I mean his family, obviously.
Unlike Ally McCoist, who claims he doesn’t do walking away, Jim Murphy runs away with himself each morning. He is a fitness fanatic and a jogger and it is doubtful whether the demands of being Labour’s Scottish leader will stop him pounding the early-morning pavements. Last week he was out and noticed a little boy with a box. He ran over and asked what was in it. The boy said it was kittens. Jim laughed and wondered what kind of kittens they were. “They’re socialists,” the kid said. Ah, how they laughed.
A couple of days later Jim met Nicola Sturgeon who was also out for a wee skip round the block in her shocking pink tracksuit. Just then, the same boy with his box appeared. Jim says to Nicola to watch and he called the boy over. Jim said: “Look in the box, Nicola. Isn’t that cute? Laddie, tell this lady Nicola what kind of kittens they are.” The boy replies: “They’re nationalists.”
Jim was stunned. “The last time I saw you, you said they were socialists. What’s changed? “Well mister, it’s like this,” the lad says. “Their eyes are open now.”