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« Alcohol misuse in Scotland, the stats | Main | Old and new media - the battle for Scotland »

November 11, 2010


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An interesting 11mins starting at 7.40mins in.

I would send each MSP who voted against the legislation a copy of Hermann Hesse's The Glass Bead Game, if I thought they would read it. Or understand it.

Give Malcolm Chisholm credit for voting for minimum pricing.

As far as profits to supermarkets goes it should be remembered that they will pay tax on their profits. It would also be of interest to know how Labour arrived at that figure which earlier this year was quoted by them as £90 million.

The SNP Government put an evidence based case for minimum pricing. There is more than ample evidence for the effect of price on consumption of alcohol. For example:The evidence that pricing affects consumption of alcohol AND is more effective than other methods is shown by a meta-analysis of 112 studies of alcohol consumption and price levels (Wagenaar et al. in Addiction, vol 104, 2009).

By all means continue with an education programme but the message is likely to be drowned out when it reaches homes awash in cheap alcohol.

Yes raising the unit price will help in tackling alcohol problems in Scotland.the opposition stance on this is ridiculous. In Scotland the attitude and acceptance of drunken behaviour also needs to be addressed.The sooner we stop laughing at the happy drunk the better.There countries in Europe where being drunk is offensive not just disruptive behaviour that often go along with it.

Holyrood needs visionaries, there for Scotland's greater good. Not self-profiting, self-obsessed egos, there for personal gain yet at the same time denouncing the very identity.

I just don't understand Labour's stance on this. I saw Jackie Baillie on TV the other day, holding a bottle of Buckfast and banging on about minimum pricing just increasing profits for supermarkets. There are two things that really bug me about their stance:

1) As a North-East loon, I can't say I came across "Buckie" much in my youth. Amazingly, I never drank alcohol until I was 17, but until then, the few people I saw of my age drinking alcohol were drinking cheap cider, not "Buckie". It wasn't until I moved to Glasgow that the sight of broken Buckfast bottles became more regular. Their focus on Buckfast/high-caffeine alcohol makes me think that they either think Glasgow is the only place in Scotland with an alcohol problem, or they are just taking it for granted that what happens in Glasgow happens throughout the rest of the country. Either way, they are completely missing the point, and I can't help feeling like it is another example of Labour only caring about their heartland.

2. What is it about supermarkets making a profit out of a measure to save lives that is so offensive to whatever the Labour ideology is? Are the trying to say that supermarkets making a profit is such an abhorrent idea that it should be avoided at all costs, including human lives?

It's opportunistic, pure and simple. Even their London counterparts think minimum pricing is a good idea, so I just cannot see any reason for their opposition except for the fact it is an SNP proposal and with 6 months until the election, they just can't risk the SNP getting plaudits for introducing this initiative. The only other possible explanation is that they genuinely DO want to keep poor people "dosed up" on cheap booze, and adding to a dependency culture.

The whole thing is just ridiculous.

Hi Jason

I wasn't dismissing the role of education, which is of course important and should continue. It's just that the WHO survey of different country's approach to alcohol found that education was less effective than price/availability and targetting key groups. It's certainly the case that in the last 20 years we have spent more money on education. But this has failed to stop increased consumption, which is due to much cheaper, unrestricted alcohol. It is extremely irritating when the opposition parties tell the electorate we should focus on education - when we have been doing that for many years and international comparisons show it to be ineffective in a climate of cheap booze.

If Labour wins the Holyrood election next year I won't be surprised if they introduce minimum pricing, but dressed up in a way that justifies their opposition now.

"Nobody who watched yesterday's debate could believe those old time, pro-Scotland unionists still exist."

that's a fascinating turn of phrase Joan but to me completely contradictory. How can a person be a pro-Scotland unionist?

It has echoes of Donald Dewar and John Smith, Labour heroes who had so much relentlessly positive copy written about them by a tame Scottish media that we were meant to accept them as Scottish heroes.

The sadly predictable blocking of yesterday's bill is proof that all unionists are pro-British first and that Scotland is always a secondary consideration.

I joined your twitter feed last night, and woke to this article which is fantastic, and i have been reposting it to various places.



While I agree with the general thrust of your article, the dismissal of education's role made me choke on my morning brandy.

Of course price matters. The decline in tobacco use demonstrates this but the increase in cigarette prices has been allied with a continuous educative effort to persuade people that smoking is bad for their health.

By all means adopt a price-based strategy for dealing with Scotland's alcohol abuse problems but don't underestimate the need to combine this with education.

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