Munguin in his office.

Dear Annie Wells and Miles Briggs,

You both seem to have made a very great deal of noise over the last two days about the Scottish drugs deaths figures, seemingly almost joyously blaming the SNP for what is, without doubt, a real tragedy in our country.


What seems to have escaped your notice is that policies relating to drugs are reserved to Westminster and that your own party, at least nominally in charge of government there, is therefore nominally responsible for policies which might be said to be responsible for these figures.


There are ways of dealing with issues relating to the use of drugs. Indeed Scotland was a leading country when it came to limiting where people could smoke, and reducing the safe driving alcohol limits.

Various European countries have experimented with a variety of drugs damage limitation policies, often involving limited decriminalisation, and the use of safe centres, places where addicts can take their drugs in a relatively safe environment, supervised, using clean needles and relatively safe materials. 

The Scottish government, having investigated this kind of policy and aware of the severity of the problem in Scotland, was ready to set up such a centre in Glasgow. However, because drugs policy is a matter reserved to the UK government, Edinburgh was obliged to seek permission from London before doing so.

This permission was denied.

I understand that, despite London’s refusal to work with Scotland, some Scottish MPs have visited Portugal to find out how their enlightened approach has worked. My Twitter friend, Miguel (WG Saraband), a Portuguese Scot, wrote this thread on Twitter about the scheme. It is worth a read.


Now, being as progressive as Portugal is a huge leap forward for a union like Britain, and I wouldn’t expect the current Brit government to embrace what are by any standards, radical changes.

But, wouldn’t it be worthwhile if the Brits at least looked into the possibility of adopting some of their policies, if only as a trial.

What I would like, and in fact, I think I have the right to demand, is that you acknowledge that this is a reserved matter and that you stop trying to make political capital out of it.

As a final thought, please also note that, although no one for a second would try to deny that the Scottish figures are dreadful, the comparisons that have been made with figures in England (which have been highlighted by some of your MPs) may be inaccurate, mainly due to the different method of complying figures in our two countries.

This article may be of interest to you.


Yours sincerely







Conan sent this (for which, thanks).

Every time I’ve been on any of these AUOB marches the atmosphere has been so friendly. Marchers chat, laugh, share stories, and are polite and nice to each other.

There is, of course, always a small bunch of Union Jack flag wavers, most of whom also are polite and well behaved, although they do tend to be shouting slogans which I can never make out because of the noise of the tens of thousands of independence supporters marching with music and drums and enjoying themselves.

I always smile at the unionists as we go past. They believe what they believe and I believe what I believe. Most of the marchers do. Some ignore them, and presumably some shout back, although I’ve not witnessed that.

I remember last year in Edinburgh seeing Miguel (a Twitter mate) waving and blowing them kisses as he proudly carried his Rainbow flag.

I don’t think we will ever convince the shouty people in these videos. I suspect that they create such bad publicity that they probably aren’t popular among their own people. This is not what unionism really looks like, is it?

No. I think not, but their behaviour and that of the young Nazi saluters back 5 years ago, are the impression that we tend to get of them.

Image result for Nazi salutes in glasgow

Sadly their “leader” seemed unwilling to condemn their behaviour, or indeed to discuss it at all.

But as Alex so rightly said in the last article:

“Surely Trump’s N.H.S comment, which I see now he’s trying to roll back on, must be a wake-up call to my generation who were substantially to blame for us losing the 2014 Independence Referendum.
“As my age increases, more and more I rely on the S.N.H.S to keep me alive, and if this threat to sell off one of our greatest national assets doesn’t resonate with my fellow pensioners, I will really doubt their sanity.”
I wonder if they will ever reflect on how much better services in Scotland, run by the SNP government, are in comparison to those in England run by the Tories.
Particularly the NHS,  and particularly because the people in the video at the top of this piece are at an age where they could find that they have a greater than average need of its services.
Maybe there comes a time to vote for self-preservation rather than for a British state that doesn’t give a stuff about them and prefers spending its (our) money on punching above its weight.