Why Juan made the news

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On the night Juan Watterson took his bus journey (with all that that entailed) I was in the Rovers Return in Douglas.

I went with some colleagues from work and bumped into lots of people I knew - from the old Bushy’s crowd to senior police officers and friends I’ve known since primary school. A couple fitted into two or three circles of that Venn diagram of friendship.

I had, I admit, a few pints of Bushy’s finest bitter.

A young woman I didn’t know approached me.

She said: ‘You must find it difficult here.’

I asked why. I’ve been going to that pub since its days as the Albion.

She replied: ‘Because you’re important.’

I was bemused. ‘I’m not important,’ I replied.

‘But you’re an MHK, aren’t you?’

I said she might have seen my mug in the papers because of my job but, no, I wasn’t an MHK.

I just hope she wasn’t mistaking me for my dad, who’s an MLC and 20 years older.

Her comments seemed strangely telling in the light of Juan Watterson’s plight this week.

Many members of the public do expect a standard of behaviour from their politicians that’s different from their own.

They realise it must be difficult for politicians to go out to the pub and let their hair down.

I do sympathise. It’s hard for politicians. In the pub they can be victims of drunken know-it-alls who think they have a right to tell them how to do their job.

Throughout it all, if they’re sensible, they have to be polite. It’s a major downside to public life.

I am sure my friends will be able to recount a number of times that I’ve had too much to drink. I usually blame it on two fellas who take advantage of a weak-willed soul - Mr Heron and Mr Brearley. But I am more cautious these days than I once was.

After all, I do appear in the paper from time to time.

Occasionally I lapse. Indeed, memories of a dinner party earlier this year make me blush still (although I kept control of the contents of my guts).

I just bored my friends with incomprehensible slurred drivel (not unlike this blog, I hear you cry).

Anyway, that was in private, among friends. And I am not the man responsible for the police force. I’m not in charge of the island’s drugs and alcohol strategy.

Juan Watterson should uphold higher standards than you or me. That’s part of his job.

And that’s why Juan’s escapades last week were a news story.

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