A drink in Scotland

One of the outcomes from the Scottish National Party’s resounding election victory in last week’s elections for the Holyrood parliament will in all likelihood be the resurrection of the SNP’s proposal to set a minimum price for alcoholic drinks.

Wherever binge drinking is a problem we do need to take steps to deal with it. The Scottish government’s proposals seem to me to be reasonable. Excessive drinking causes economic, social and medical problems. It is important that these are addressed.

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8 Comments on “A drink in Scotland”

  1. Emmet Ryan Says:

    While tackling drinking issues is important, this isn’t a good way to go about it. Those hurt the most by price influencing tactics are responsible drinkers whose financial burden is affected by the actions irresponsible drinkers. The latter category will not have their drink purchases affected as they place a higher importance on the purchase of alcohol over.other goods, minimum prices on alcohol will merely see them spend less on other goods to compensate.

  2. Vincent Says:

    Along with a huge percentage of the worlds population, the Scot, most of them, cannot deal with lactose or anything lactose related. And this includes the tiny amount of lactic acid that is found in all wine or beer.
    It’s not for nothing that in Gaelic uisce beaha can be translated to ‘the healthy water’ for the distillation process removes some of that acid.
    The Japanese also display this problem where brewing is concerned. And respond by buying up a goodly proportion of the Scottish output.
    It’s only the decedents of those steppe savages that have the ability to digest milk in quantities into adulthood. And the quicker things like this are explained to the Celtic peoples the better, for then they might quit thinking that drinking volumes is some sort of personal challenge.

    • brian t Says:

      If you do even the most rudimentary research on lactose intolerance, you will find that the UK (including Scotland) has a very low incidence. You say “it’s only the decedents of those steppe savages” – meaning what, exactly? Never mind that “decedent” means “dead”: if the Scots as a tribe can trace their origins to the Scythians, the same can be said of the Celts e.g. see http://www.libraryireland.com/HistoryIreland/Scythians.php . ALL our descendants were savages: the only question is when you choose to draw the line between “savage” and “civilised”.

      Back on topic: drinking culture in Scotland differs somewhat from Ireland in that there are fewer pubs and much more drinking at home. I don’t have a strong opinion on minimum drink pricing, but I expect it would be targeted more at that market, especially supermarkets with their bargain prices.

      • Vincent Says:

        You’re wrong. Gene mapping points to a number of enclaves within Europe and of those the highest incidence is on these islands particularly Wales, the west coast of Ireland and the highlands and islands of Scotland.

  3. Laura Muir Says:

    My opinion is that some types of alcohol are too cheap in the UK and responsible drinkers (especially those who prefer quality rather than quantity) would not be significantly disadvantaged by a rise in the price of ‘booze’.

    But what do I know? I asked my daughter who is a 3rd year Law student at Glasgow University and is currently studying abroad at the University of Copenhagen. [Okay she may not be representative of the binge drinking youth of our country but she and other young people are worth listening to on this subject.] Although she tells me that the relatively high price of alcohol has reduced the amount she drinks when she goes for a night out, she feels that the price is not the reason why students in Copenhagen are not getting ‘wasted’ on booze. She tells me that students she has met in Denmark (from all around the world) have greater self-respect, greater self-esteem and that they are healthier and more health-conscious generally. She is having a great time there, without ‘booze’ and without all the stress that being in a ‘booze culture’ often creates for young people.

    I agree that this issue needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency – and we must include young people in the discussion and respect them so that they can learn to respect themselves.

  4. Emmet Ryan Says:

    Laura, minimum prices would have knock on effects on how other beers are priced. The differences wouldn’t be the same (indeed the premium end of the market would probably see no change whatsoever in pricing) but the Heinekens/Carlings would like be bumped up.

    Even if they weren’t, classifying specific beers which don’t commit acts of below-cost selling (which itself is a different matter entirely) as being too cheap is denying both the manufacturer the right to compete and also bringing a class element into it.

    While lower-income drinkers (including students) are on average more likely to drink to excess, those who have limited budgets but drink responsibly would still be adversely affected. They would essentially be forced to purchase at a higher point of the market. That sounds unfairly discriminatory to me.

    • Laura Muir Says:

      As I said, “What do I know?” My point isn’t about pricing – it is about understanding the real problem.

  5. Al Says:

    One can expect a massive growth in student brewers…
    Could kick start a niche industry???

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