In 2004, Finland lifted the prohibition on people bringing cheap alcohol into the country. The results were disastrous and consumption rose by 10%, along with alcohol related illness.
Labour and the other unionist parties are totally disingenuous when they say minumum pricing is untried and untested. Price does matter, as Finland shows. Yes, it would be better if the money went to the state instead of the supermarket. But the UK government refuse to act. Why, then, do these parties oppose calls to give Scotland control over duty on alcohol and other taxes? Might it be because Scotch whisky alone provides £1.6bn a year to the UK exchequer?
Kaye Adams was taken aback when Labour's Doctor Richard Simpson, a guest on her show, lamely responded that his only solution to the problem was to bat it back to the UK government - without even trying a Scottish approach. Some people think he was given too much time by the BBC. Personally, I think he was given enough time to hang himself. Listen again to Call Kaye here. Dr Simpson thinks most of the pensioners in the country are addicted to cheap vodka....he must hope Scotland is too inebriated to notice his inconsistency and opportunisim.
Incidently, the SNP proposal did not come out of thin air. It was based on research by the World Health Organisation . The WHO studied policies aimed at reducing alcohol consumption around the world. It concluded that the most effective methods to reduce consumption were 1. Target at risk groups. 2. Control price. 3 Reduce access.
WHO said woolly approaches such as "improve education" were least effective.
The SNP followed WHO advice by addressing the three different points in these ways 1. Ban under 21s from off sales (eg target as risk groups). 2. Set a minimum unit price. 3. Introduce separate tills for alcohol at supermarkets.
1 and 3 were killed off quickly and 2 was stopped yesterday.
There was a time when the Scottish divisions of London parties included a few folk who sincerely believed they were defending their country inside the UK. They were misguided but genuine. A few devolutionists were motivated by a sense of public service. Now, the plates have shifted. Nobody who watched yesterday's debate could believe those old time, pro-Scotland unionists still exist. The whole debate was an exercise in cynicism.