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by Liam Kirkaldy
22 May 2015
MSPs discuss whisky: What could possibly go wrong?

MSPs discuss whisky: What could possibly go wrong?

Whisky is inspirational stuff, having played a key role in Scotland’s culture for centuries. This week’s parliamentary debate proved as much.

Kevin Stewart started off by running through a seemingly random list of tributes to the drink.

Apparently running toward the end of his list, he said: “In terms of space drama, the advocacy of whisky by Scotty from “Star Trek” could be said to have already gone where no dram has gone before.”

He definitely said it. It’s just not clear why he said it. It was a speech that went where no speech had gone before.

Sarah Boyack continued the praise, saying, “Personally, I will always remember world whisky day”.

Presumably she is one of few who celebrated it that will.

Next, she continued with advice on how to increase whisky sales, in an attempt to boost the economy.

For a start, why not start sneaking it into puddings?

She boasted: “My personal preference is to add it to cranachan, which is one of my favourite puddings. Members who are pudding aficionados will know that whisky can be added to many Scottish puddings.”

Some would suggest that the whisky industry – worth £5bn each year to Scotland’s economy – is doing pretty well, and probably doesn’t need Sarah Boyack going around slipping whisky into people’s puddings in order to stay afloat.

But at least she cares, adding: “In the year of Scottish food and drink, we should think laterally about how we can promote all the different brands of whisky that we have in Scotland and about how can we drink it differently.”

She ended, saying, “We should celebrate whisky. It is part of our culture, our tourism offer and our economy. It is part of who we are.”

It will also a part of our puddings, if Boyack has anything to do with it.

Next came Mary Scanlon announcing, “I have had whisky poured over a haggis at a Burns supper”.

This, clearly, sounded like the work of Sarah Boyack. Until Scanlon continued, “but I have never tried it in a pudding.”

Not that she knew about anyway.

And last, but by no means least, was Stewart Stevenson.

Stevenson is a private pilot and it is extraordinary how often this comes up in debates. Or at least it would be, if it wasn’t always Stewart Stevenson who brought it up.

He said: “I am a private pilot and one of the things about flying to Islay is that all the distilleries have their names painted in huge letters on their roofs. Air traffic control at the airport on Islay navigates aircraft to the airport by reference to the distilleries’ names, on the basis that pilots can look out of the window and see that they are at the right one.”

Next, in what was still meant to be the whisky debate, he started talking about Antarctica. For really quite a long time.

After that, it was on to Kenya. Then Kiev. Then Cambodia. Then Queensland.

It was like he was spinning a globe in his head and seeing where it would stop. But it wouldn’t stop.

Announcing his jealousy of Mary Scanlon and Richard Lochhead because of the distilleries based in their constituencies, he said, “I welcome the constituency boundary changes in 2011 that gave me that distillery to add to the couple that I already had, but I am looking forward to making a takeover bid for Moray at the next election, because I want more of them. You cannae get enough.”

At this point his meaning had become clear – Stevenson was attempting to play a distillery based version of Risk.

By 2020 he will have every one of them, with every other MSP in Scotland squashed around the whisky-less edges while he patrols his gerrymandered, distillery-based fiefdom from above, in his personal plane.

And with that, proceedings were more or less concluded. There was just time for Scanlon to set the record straight on something that had obviously been bothering her.

“For the record, I poured a little glass of whisky over the haggis, not the bottle. I think it is quite important to state that, in the interests of my credibility.”

Whisky is clearly an inspirational drink.

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