DEAR Angry,

As a guest at the recent SNP conference in Glasgow, I was impressed by many things – some good, some not so good. In my role as a moving freelance nuisance, I snuck into the conference posing as one of the brothers from The Proclaimers. Immediately I was struck by the scale of the operation. It cannot be denied that the enduring popularity of the SNP is still at festival level. Unlike previous party conferences I have visited, where small groups of middle-aged or older men doze off during key policy discussions, the SNP conference was only a face-painting stall away from being a full-blown political carnival.

I was honestly expecting to see John Swinney riding the dodgems or Joanna Cherry and Angus Robertson having a go on the Waltzer.

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While I may disagree with the SNP on various levels, I had to admire their collective enthusiasm for spending money needlessly. The most stunning instance of reverse-austerity occurred when the bar at the hotel, where many SNP politicians and staff were staying, stopped serving alcohol as everyone was far too drunk. At the risk of sounding like a miser, do you think they are perhaps taking the “party” element of the SNP a bit too literally? After all, the SNP are in one breath advocating minimum pricing to combat Scotland’s drinking problem, and in another drowning themselves in so much beer that barmen turn them away.

Dean Rollins

I’M pleased to hear that you had such a lovely time at the SNP conference. It seems to me that the “enduring popularity” that you speak of must mean that the SNP are, to some extent, doing good for a great number of people in Scotland. They might not be to your tastes, but they’re still outgunning the opposition parties who seem to do very little besides popping off about the supposed failings of the Scottish Government.

Amid all the fun and frolics, it should be noted that the conference was a rip-roaring policy success story. Not only that, but it featured one of the best political speeches of the year, with Mhairi Black assertively putting Corbyn’s Labour in their place after they needlessly targeted SNP seats in Scotland. Sturgeon’s conference closer was also a barnstormer, as the First Minister bravely condemned the EU for failing to speak out against the Spanish police brutality in Catalonia. She also clarified that support for Scottish independence was not solely centred on rejecting Brexit, which was a welcome change of narrative from the one surrounding the failed ScotRef venture earlier this year. All in all, this SNP conference was arguably the most memorable yet.

So it’s little surprise that, after a long and fruitful day of enthusiastic conferencing, the SNP massif saw fit to indulge in a shandy or 12. Hard as it is to imagine, Big Aldo and Wee Nic’s figurative bairns jollied up on jumbo juice. And so what? Namby-pamby fly-on-the-wall pooh-butts like yourself have a tendency to dramatise these situations for no real reason. Whatever happened to having fun?

Like myself, you may be largely critical of political elites for coming across as wooden, monolithic entities with no soul in them – and that may be an accurate observation for the most part. But what about the ones who possess the joie de vivre, and enjoy getting drunk with their supporters?

You must remember that political party conferences, while generally recognised as serious events, are also the political equivalent of office nights out. And would it really be a night out if someone didn’t get falling-down drunk or pull a co-worker or vomit into the River Clyde? If history has taught us anything, it’s that politics and alcohol go together like Tories and dishonesty. Or Tories and austerity. Or Tories and criminality. You get the point.

Alcohol is a way of life in Scotland and it’s one that we sometimes do to excess. Is this a bad thing? Yes, sometimes. But since it would appear that no-one was attacked, arrested or a victim of anything besides a pounding head the next morning, where’s the harm?

To answer your question, I do not think that the SNP are taking the “party” element of their name too literally. If anything, I think they should be holding more hootenannies and soirees at Yes Bar and other wholesome venues of good cheer. Minimum pricing is not to my liking. Raising the cost of alcohol will lower my wallet’s capacity for pleasure seeking. It should be scrapped.

Not only will this stimulate the economy, but it will also remind people of the importance of partying. Who knows? Perhaps if Scottish Labour can convince voters that they’re a party worth attending, they’ll start to win back voters?

Ugh, I must be drunk …