Last night, Mr Steerpike was on his way back to Glasgow Central station from a game between Ayr United and Partick Thistle, sipping a hot water and lemon. He would have liked something stronger, only the Scottish government — which took control of Scotland’s railway services on April 1 — has extended the Covid-era ban on the consumption of booze on trains.
Some rebellious passengers were flouting the government’s rules, however. Among them, Mr Steerpike observed, appeared to be Mhairi Black — the SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South (and subject of Tracey Ullman parody).
Just weeks before, Transport Scotland announced that the ‘potential reintroduction of alcohol on Scotland’s railway services’ needed to be considered ‘within that broader context of passenger — and staff — safety.’
Black, sipping what looks suspiciously like a can of Tennent’s, didn’t even flinch. If she was worried about the safety of her and her fellow travellers, she was very brave not to show it. Mhairi Black’s office has been contacted for comment.
Of course, Black wouldn’t be the first politician to fall afoul of train drinking rules. In 2019, Diane Abbott apologised after being photographed drinking an M&S mojito on a London Overground train despite Transport for London’s ban.
From pavement parking to offensive Tweets, the Scottish government keeps finding new things to ban. Perhaps it’s not surprising that even their own MPs appear unable to keep track.
Meanwhile, Scotland is going off the rails.
UPDATE: It was indeed Tennants and Ms Black has apologised. Nicola Sturgeon said: "I’m sure she’ll be deeply regretful at making that slip." Any chance that the SNP may be regretful of passing the no-drinking law?