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The truths they don't want you to read....

Saturday, March 22, 2008

A coherent policy on booze?

The Scottish Government is somewhat schizophrenic about it's policy towards alcoholic drink.

Many (most?) politicians seem to want to have nothing to do with drink in any shape or form, and it is hard to imagine any of the current Scottish Government standing in a bar having a pint, and damn few seem easy to imagine sitting with a nice glass of wine in hand. I know some do drink, as I have seen them gently sipping from a long-nursed glass of warm white wine at various receptions.

Nevertheless, the abstention seem to be the new code, and mixed in with a pathetic dose of "new laws for old problems", it is being forced down our throats.

Responding to a BBC report that the drinking age in Scotland may be raised to 21, the Health Minister Shona Robinson ....

said nothing had yet been ruled in or out of the government's attempt to curb problem drinking.

She added: "We all know that Scotland as a nation has a drink problem and the implications of this are very serious - not least for our health."

Scotland also has a major problem with heart attacks, so are chipshops set to be banned?

Whilst in October, Proposals to lower the voting age to 16 have been unanimously backed at the SNP annual conference.

So in the brave new Scotland you can get a driving licence, get married, join the amry and fight and die in Iraq, have children, become a Councillor or even an MP, but not have a half of lager after a hard week at work until you are 21.

There are exceptions to the general rule about booze being bad.

A fortnight ago Holyrood debated the whisky duty rise, with Alex Salmond, the First Minister, warning that the Budget would "damage Scotland's economic interests".

So are these 'economic interests' more important than the health impacts, or has whisky got no adverse effects on health?

The solution that Ms Robison is thrashing about searching for is to use the existing licensing legislation to take action on public houses (and supermarkets) who serve under-agers or those who are obviously drunk, and to get the Police to use their powers to clamp down on those who are 'drunk and disorderly'. Perhaps the extra Police on the beat who were promised in the Manifesto would have been able to deal with these problems.

I has been one of the defining features of a Government in trouble to deal with an issue that the knee-jerk reaction is to add yet more ill-thought out legislation to the statute book, rather than attempt to develop and deliver a coherent policy using existing powers.

Let's start with the basics: is all booze bad? And then build a policy from that simple principle.

Shona Robison MSP


Anonymous said...

Is booze bad for all?
What are the medical facts?

Are all bad with booze?
What are the police stats?

Lets have it all by age.
And lets have what the current police policy is when dealing with drunks and the actual figures in dealing with 16-18 and 18-21 age ranges.

Temperance has its place but age alone is only a very small factor in determining what the age of drink consent should be.

I hope this is not being pushed by puritans rather than knowing professionals whose expertise we can accept as reasoned without actually implementing their conclusions.

Anonymous said...

Rather unfair putting a picture of a North Lochs Councillor up without properly crediting it ;-)

Anonymous said...

I used to be proud to be Scots but the more cr*p that the elected principals produce the more disenchanted I become. The lunatics are running the asylum!

Anonymous said...

I believe that has all been misrepresented by the media. I believe what the actual report should be is that the legal age for buying booze in an off-license could be put up in Supermarkets, though there would still be a legal drinking age of 18.

Captain Swing said...

I Know this is regarding the Grampian Region but it does sum up to me the attitude of the Authorities towards drinking, and especially underage drinking. You cannot tell me that only 7 establishments were selling booze in the Grampian area to under 18's over this 3 year period. If Scotland is to do anything about it's poor image with regard to alcohol abuse it has to start being very strict with the legislation it already has, not bring in new legislation that will be ignored as the current legislation seems to be.

Anonymous said...

anon 5:00 i believe that wear wolves exist and i believe that was what the report was actually trying to tell us;-P