Don’t drink and… legislate?
I was amused to hear about a Scottish Labour MP running amok in the Mother of all Parliaments, having looked too long upon the grape, so to speak. It got me wondering about subsidised bars in legislative chambers, and whether such places have a role in today’s modern society. Told as we are that alcohol is very very bad for us, as is tobacco, fatty foods and all sorts of things we plebs are supposed to avoid, upon pain of increased prices. I am not the only one to be thinking thus.
The thought occurs that maybe we ought to apply the same standards to our legislative bodies that their advisers are increasingly demanding of John Q Public? Definitely a smoking ban – no exceptions. If the pub trade in the UK is turning up its fiscal toes because custom is hemorrhaging away, then a complete smoking ban in the Strangers Bar or anywhere within the precincts of Parliament. Let the Parliamentary smokers huddle outdoors at least five metres from doors, air intakes, bars, restaurants, coffee shops, or any form of shelter like everyone else.
Oh, and while we’re at it, I propose that all those responsible for debating legislation and setting policy to affect the lives of everyone else should be breathalysed and drug tested before entering the chamber. Any MP ‘over the limit’ would have to go home immediately until they sober up enough to pass a breath alcohol test. All bars, restaurants and possession of alcohol within legislative buildings and ministerial offices should be completely banned.
Maybe there should even be a ‘Legislators licence’. After all, debating and deciding affairs of state and the fate of the nation is an important matter. Lives and even the livelihood of the nation depend upon cool sober heads making the right decision without chemical interference. Therefore I propose that every MP or representative should have to pass a kind of ‘driving test’ upon matters constitutional and the duties expected of them, which would be subject to an instant eighteen month ban from Parliament should they turn up for work less than completely clean and sober. A second offence would subject them to a three year ban, and a third to a permanent loss of their ‘Legislators licence’. Plus two years in jail and a twenty thousand pound fine. Also, bad laws might be subject to a new offence like ‘legislating without due care and attention’.
I can see it now; MP’s being subject to being pulled over in the entry lobby for looking a bit sozzled by a bunch of suspicious and truculent rozzers with a job lot of breathalysers and two brace of drug sniffer dogs. MP’s being arrested for the new offence of ‘Debating under the Influence’, cuffed and thrown in the cells until their brief can arrive, or they can sober up. After all, shouldn’t those in positions of power be held to higher standards than those they would purport to govern?
Of course it will never happen. Even the bunch of Turkeys in the UK’s Houses of Parliament aren’t stupid enough to vote for that particular type of Christmas.
Although, I’m given to ponder; say if such a diktat came down from the EU Commission, it might go on the books without even a nod as one of those insidious ‘statutory instruments’. Maybe that might persuade more MP’s to be less enthusiastic about being ruled by Brussels.
As an idea, I like it. Sauce for the Goose indeed.