Subscribe to Holyrood updates

Newsletter sign-up


Follow us

Scotland’s fortnightly political & current affairs magazine


Subscribe to Holyrood
by Louise Wilson
13 March 2021
Sketch: Rishi Sunak's cola problem

Credit: Iain Green

Sketch: Rishi Sunak's cola problem

Rishi Sunak is a “total coke addict”, the chancellor revealed in an interview with Robert Peston, no sorry, Nick Robinson, no sorry, two schoolboys from Richmond School.

Sunak hastily clarified to the two lads he meant he was a “Coca Cola addict”.

Then in an attempt to dig himself out of the hole, Sunak explained he was a particular fan of the product which came from a part of the world not at all associated with the drug trade. “It’s called Mexican coke,” he said. At least he wasn’t singing the praises of Colombian coke.

“It’s this special coke,” he added, though importantly not in the same way as special brownies from Amsterdam, because it “is the only place in the world where coke is made with cane sugar rather than high fructose corn syrup.” The teen journalists were probably not anticipating such a great scoop being handed to them on a silver tray. Toot, toot…

Sunak may be having the stuff imported, smuggling bottle after can through border checks, sewn into secret pockets and hidden under false suitcase bottoms. He is alerted to the arrival of a new delivery by a pair of brogues thrown over the telephone wires or the familiar ice cream van jingle outside 11 Downing Street. He hurries out the back door, subtly exchanging a wad of notes with a hooded youth, who retrieves a carrier bag of the fizzy stuff from a nearby hedge. We later find Sunak at A&E with an ice cube stuck in his nostril after he tried to snort his beverage.

But his supplies have hit a bit of a bump in the road recently, as he later pleaded: “If anyone’s travelling in Mexico or the southern states of America, you can get Mexican coke.” The “for me” didn’t need adding.

Maybe someone should mention the recipe for Mexican coke is actually the same as UK coke. With all the sugar crystals surging through his system, his critical thinking skills have probably been a bit blunted.

To be fair to him, he’s also very aware of the dangers of his addiction. “I have seven fillings to show for it,” he said, adding in case we didn’t believe him: “I genuinely do have seven fillings, because I got through a lot of the stuff when I was young, which is very bad so people should not – don’t do that.”

You heard it, just say ‘no’, kids.

He’s tried to overcome his problem, but going cold turkey was a step too far. “I’m only allowed one a week now,” he adds, sweat dripping from his pores.

Without the Coca Cola clarification, we might have been left thinking the young chancellor had been led astray by Michael Gove, who previously admitted to taking cocaine on “several occasions”. That revelation really put Nicola Sturgeon’s admission she had once tried cannabis or Jim Murphy having to clarify whether or not he’d sniffed glue into some perspective.

Meanwhile, some might have wondered what stimulants they were on while trying to figure out Margaret Mitchell’s behaviour at the recent harassment committee meeting at Holyrood.

Mitchell confused everyone but herself while quizzing First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, her brain whirring at ten times the speed of everyone else’s, asking the questions energetically and erratically, then quick to anger when no one else seemed to follow her genius.

“When was the policy signed off?” she asked. “It was signed off on 20 December,” Sturgeon replied. “You will be aware that that is being disputed by the First Minister,” Mitchell said. Sturgeon said: “I am the First Minister.”

Over the next half hour, Mitchell unsuccessfully tried to clarify what was supposedly being disputed by the First Minister or, sorry, former first minister. She helpfully explained: “It was three months in development: it was started in November, then there was December and January, and it was published immediately it was signed off, in February.” At least she still had a grasp on months of the year, if nothing else.

Sturgeon was unable to answer. Mitchell tried again: “I merely say that there is a discrepancy about how long it took to develop the process from beginning to end.”

More confusion.

She added, twitching: “Was it three months in the making? If they only came forward in November, then there was December, it would take us to the end of January before the procedure was signed off… the complaints only came forward in November. What happened in October? If it was a three-month period from beginning to end—”

Here Mitchell was cut off by the First Minister, who like the rest of the watching public was still unable to follow.

Mitchell at this point, it seems, gave up: “I am just going to leave that there. I will leave all that hanging in the air. Others can look at it and we can go back and check things.”

But going back to check things has not thrown any further light onto the situation, and with that a line was drawn under the matter.

Holyrood Newsletters

Holyrood provides comprehensive coverage of Scottish politics, offering award-winning reporting and analysis: Subscribe

Read the most recent article written by Louise Wilson - MSPs back Budget Bill as Shona Robison urges Jeremy Hunt to increase public spending.

Get award-winning journalism delivered straight to your inbox

Get award-winning journalism delivered straight to your inbox


Popular reads
Back to top