In praise of the SNP

Which ever side of the argument you sit on over the thorny issue of raising alcohol prices with the aim of reducing excess alcohol use, you have to be impressed with the SNP's willingness to take the issue on, make unpopular decisions and not shirk the responsibilities that come with the trappings of office.

I heard a member of the alcoholics excuse group (also known as The Portman Group), an organisation funded by alcohol producers to ... erm ... well let's be clear, their job is simply to promote alcohol whilst pretending to want people to drink less or, as they say "drink responsibly". This is the same group that tells publicans to promote very alcoholic cider by "pouring it in a long class with ice". Anyway, I heard him wetting himself with fright on the radio this morning because the Portman Group will now be found out one way or the other.

If Scotland does see a fall in alcohol related illness, if alcohol consumption does drop north of the border and the SNP are proven to be right, then the credibility of the Portman group will be destroyed.

If, however, alcohol consumption does not change and the only result of the price increases is more people paying more and the SNP suffering a backlash the SNP can, in the short term, rely on the unpopularity of the Labour Party and can expect to retain much of their support for this simple reason.

So although it appears to be a gamble, the SNP really don't have much to lose and, more than anything else, it shows them to be willing to take risks and think the unthinkable.

So I raise my glass to them with cheap English bought Port. Cheers !


Gallimaufry said...

Three cheers to the Scotch government for helping the off-licence trade in English towns south of the border. In addition, I doubt it will be possible to enforce a ban on sales of drink in England for delivery in Scotland. The sad thing about this ill-considered (but well-intentioned) proposal is that both problem and social drinkers will spend more on booze (and as alkies have a relatively inelastic demand curve for booze they will spend proportionately more than the rest), leaving less money for food and rent. As the secondary effects of alcoholism include malnourishment and homelessness, the policy appears to be worsening the problem it seeks to mitigate.
It would be a much more sensible and effective policy to discover why people abuse alcohol and help them solve their problems.

Richard T said...

The simple fact is that you can buy a man's drink units for a week for £3.50 in central Scotland.

There is an issue with alcohoics here but the governemnt is aiming at the ehavy drinking culture not alcoholism as such. There is already a huge amount spent in Scotland on minimising alcohol usage but it's not effective for the target groups - young people and the unemployed partly because booze is easily available and dirt cheap in the supermarkets. Our neds are the main problem because of the amont drunk and violence that follows from it and their drinks of choice are cheap super strength cider (as above, cheap super strength lager and buckfast tonic wine also dirt cheap. hence the government's approach. Incidentally our Justice Minister can speak from experience as he has a conviction for drunkenness in his distant youth. It's a problem shared with other northern countries - Norway, Sweden and Finland have similar binge drinking cultures.

The answer isn't clear but what our government have proposed is largely welcomed here - except the restriction of out sales to the over 21's.

Letters From A Tory said...

It's a dangerous game to play, particularly with a general election round the corner and thousands of jobs at distilleries and drinks companies on the line.

Jeff said...

Well said that man!

As you sau, it's worth a crack. If it doesn't work (and it'll only take a couple of years to work that out) it can easily be repealed.