Free internet by 2030 if the Labour Party gets in and it could cost the country £29 billion or up to £100 billion if you believe someone at BT.
And if the Conservatives win we will get 50,000 new nurses although some of them may already be working in the NHS. But I thought …
The SNP promise that their election promises, when they are published, will include blocking rip-off delivery charges to people in remoter areas – like islanders.
These are all wonderful election promises. We love them. Can we vote for all of them? Oh, that’s not how it works?
Unfortunately, just because a party says it will happen, does not mean it will happen. In 2017, the Conservatives promised a better NHS. Now operation waiting times are going up almost everywhere and A&E times are becoming shocking in most of the country. Labour? Not much better. I remember in 2005 when it promised a “bigger, better” higher education system with increased public spending. In the years that followed, half of Britain’s universities had budgets cut as it targeted education for savings.
And that is to say nothing of SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon’s discomfiture this week when she was accused by veteran Rottweiler Andrew Neil of breaking the legal guarantee on the 12-week waiting time for patients to be seen. He even suggested Ms Sturgeon or beleagured health minister Jeane Freeman may have broken the law – civil law, he said. Oops. Politicians are prone to say anything. They should promise gin. That would get my vote.
Gin is the liquid version of Photoshop. You know that software that you can use to make ugly people look younger, well that is exactly what gin does – to me, at any rate. It has such a warming effect on the soul and makes everyone you talk to appear interesting and awesome. In fact, I am pretty sure that when I down a couple of G&Ts, they make me interesting and awesome too so what’s not to like?
When we were at a pub quiz recently, I did not do as well as I normally do and I have been told that was because I may have had a driblette of gin beforehand. I thought I did well in the movies section but my answers were not quite on the money, apparently. The quizmaster asked: “What is ET short for?” Everyone else was mumbling stuff like The Extra Celestial but none of us got it bang on straight away. The master of the quiz was getting impatient. “Come on, guys. What is ET short for?” Yes, I got it. I blurted out: “So he can fit in the spaceship.”
Then he asked: “If a three-book series is a trilogy, what is a four-book series?” I could not think of the word quadrilogy just then so instead I began to explain how four books fell on my head last week. I said: “I’ve only got my shelf to blame.” Mrs X had had enough and dragged me out. On the way home, the gin was taking effect and apparently I was talking nonsense. She was picking on me so I told her that I was madly in love with Beyoncé. She said: “Yeah yeah. Whatever floats your boat.” It’s never a good idea to correct her without a helmet on but I said: “No dear, that’s buoyancy.”
Gin, if taken properly, is a medicine. Didn’t you know that? Taken with the right measure of quinine, which coincidentally is in tonic water, it is an antidote which is very effective in the treatment of malaria. Some people will say that it is the quinine only that should be available free on the NHS but they forget that it’s that combination which is so eminently drinkable as to need no coaxing of the patient to take their medicine. Malaria is spread by mosquitoes. While there have been no recent reports of such bites in Scotland of late, you can never be too careful.
So it is just as well that we are lucky enough to have a distillery making premium gin in Tarbert on the Isle of Harris, the neighbouring landmass sometimes described by rascals as south Lewis. Harris Gin, which is suffused with bits of seaweed has become very popular in the islands and all round the country. The seaweed kelp which is available as an optional extra in a wee dropper bottle takes it to another dimension. The other night, we were out in a certain hostelry when I decided to have a wee one. Mrs X was just about to sip her Moscow Mule when I came right out and said: “I love you.”
Her mouth fell open. She gawped at me and she said: “Aw Iain, a ghraidh. That is so not like you. See? You can be romantic when you want to be. That is so nice of you. I love you too. Just one thing I want to know – is that you or the gin talking?” I replied: “It’s me. I’m talking to the gin.”