Minimum Alcohol Pricing: The Middle Class Sneer at the Unworthy Under-Privileged (Again). 212

Alcohol Focus Scotland state “Minimum pricing will mainly affect the low cost, high strength drinks favoured by harmful drinkers and younger drinkers.” By which they mean poorer drinkers.

My Chateauneuf du Pape and Lagavulin will be unaffected. The middle classes of Scotland can quaff their claret and Burgundy to their hearts’ content. Not only will the price be unchanged, there is a social message here. Six stiff G and T’s at the golf club is fine. The price won’t go up. The poor guy with his four tins of super strength lager in front of his TV is the problem. His cost will go up.

I cannot find words to express for you my depth of contempt for a measure which – by design – only affects the price of drinks drunk overwhelmingly by the lower socio-economic classes and – horror of horrors – the young! I drank a great deal more at university than I do now, and I consider the pleasures of that time a great boon to my life.

For those who find the hardships of life hard to take, the solace of alcohol can be considerable. It can assist the shy. There is very little social activity that does not carry risk of some kind. We see a determined effort to price the poor, and the poor alone, out of drinking. Should we try to price them out of driving too as that is also a risky activity causing many deaths?

I would object less to the law if the price increase also extended to the drinks of the middle class. I would still be against it, but at least it would not be aimed at targeting just the poor for daring to believe that, no matter how poor you are, you are still entitled to fun. This is worse than nanny state law; it is a law informed by the contempt the bourgeoisie feel for their social “inferiors”. It is despicable.

212 thoughts on “Minimum Alcohol Pricing: The Middle Class Sneer at the Unworthy Under-Privileged (Again).

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  • kief

    Was the law passed by ballot or edict? They pass cigarette tax laws to fund other pet projects, while saying it’s designed to discourage youth smoking. Of course they understand it’s taxation without representation because only 20% of population smoke, so it’s a slam dunk for non-smokers.

    This is how progressives operate here….Nannys. They protect us from ourselves. They know better than the unwashed masses.

    • craig Post author

      This is not in any sense progressive. It is a price penalty knowingly designed to impact largely upon the poor.

      • kief

        To get them to drink less? Or as cover to raise revenue? It sounds like the usual social engineering.

        • kief

          Oh I see. You thought I was using the noun ‘progressive’ and you the verb.

          I almost always use the word facetiously, as though progressives were truly ‘progressive’.

  • david

    It was always a stupid idea. As you rightly say though the implementation is even worse than the concept. It should have been applied to all alcoholic drinks.

    Personally I hate the stuff, its just the opiate of the masses.

  • Dave

    I fully agree. More, France and Spain have cheaper drink and there is no problem with this. So pricing is proven useless as social control. . It is as you say, a sneering attack onthose who have less than the comfortable class – that is to say, the lawmaking class. Marx was right as usual.

    • Martinned

      More, France and Spain have cheaper drink and there is no problem with this. So pricing is proven useless as social control.

      Yes! On that evidence, let’s abolish capitalism! Since prices are clearly useless!

  • Habbabkuk

    The contempt you feel for this measure is probably less than the contempt I feel in particular for supermarkets who encourage excessive consumption of alcohol by setting the price at loss-leading levels.

    What is going wrong with you at the moment, I wonder, that you lose it with subjects of this kind?

    If there is really “a determined effort to “price the poor out of drinking” and the “middle classes” (whatever you mean that nowadays) are “spared”, then that might be because the poor – because they are poor – might just have better things to spend their money on. The less money you have, the more your spending on alcohol eats into the resources you have available for better things.

    And by the way: the price of cigarettes in the UK is very high (in effect, a high excise duty acts as a kind of minimum price). Would Craig make the same argument against the high price of cigarettes as he makes against a minimum price for alcohol?

    • Martinned

      The whole logic of the ECJ in this case was that an excise duty would be equivalent to a minimum price, but less intrusive of competition. I don’t buy the second bit, but the first half is obviously true. A minimum price is an excise duty that is focused on products that are particularly cheap. You can’t be against one without also being against the other.

  • Phil Ex Frog

    “For those who find the hardships of life hard to take, the solace of alcohol can be considerable.”

    And the correlation between alcohol and suicide is presented as causal. Essential to the refusal to acknowledge/understand the environmental drivers of addiction.

    • kief

      From Craig’s perspective I’d say he’s more Libertarian than progressive. Progressive’s would love this micro-management.

      • Phil Ex Frog

        I wasn’t saying anything about Craig beyond extending a point he made. Maybe I should have been clearer.

        Addiction must be portrayed as a problem with the individual so we don’t all start asking what exactly are the environmental drivers of addiction.

        Anyone who has experienced or witnessed addiction will tell you. You won’t price the person clean. Once a substance cannot be afforded, is no longer available, just move on to whatever is at hand.

        There is a beautiful experiment from the 1970s showing addiction is environemnetal.. Of course it is widely ignored. Rat Park

        • kief

          People are complex and not simply analyzed using animal behavior.

          Altering reality is a pretty general motivation because rather than a primary need like food and shelter, is only considered when those needs are met. But someone maintaining an addiction switches it to primary need and food becomes secondary. But that’s window dressing for those determined to drink despite the social and physical negatives.

          • Phil the ex-frog


            That article is poor. Jaffe offers not one jot of evidence. He doesn’t even attempt to draw in any study or refernce peers. Not very academic. So what does he say?

            People are different to rats: well sure. But the validity of extrapolating towards conclusions aboput people from animal behaviour is a tried and tested approach. Never heard of some dogs abused by Ivan Pavlov?

            We will never have utopia: er, ok. This doesn’t even address the validity of the experiment but simply offhand dismisses any attempt to build on it by stating the irrelevent but obvious.

            Some people have a genetic predisposition to react badly to childhood trauma: So, some people are more susceptible. Perhaps, but so what? How does this dismiss what is suggested by the experiment? It doesn’t. It adds another dimnsion that in no way contradicts rat park.

            He then conflates use with abuse. As you seem to have done in your comment.

            As a behaviourist Jaffe offhand dismisses, without reference, the foundations of his own specialist subject. This is not surprising but says more about him than rat park. His career at UCLA would nosedive should he start blaming society. He is arguing politics under the guise of academia.

          • Clark

            In humans, the equivalent of the solitary isolation in a cage is emotional isolation. We inflict this upon each other, in a multitude of ways – cutting off others’ sentences trying to always be the one who is heard, refusing to listen, insisting upon our own way, being false because we’re trying to gain advantage, crafting our language to damage others’ confidence or make them look stupid – all the techniques of domination, but of course we attempt to dominate because we fear.

            I got so fed up with it that I just sit on my own and smoke tobacco. At least no one can interrupt me before I’ve completed my blog comment.

          • kief

            Phil. I wasn’t citing it for my intuitive thought. you listed the link through the search engine generality. I’m not saying that piece has the last word but it does have a salient point;

            Humans are more complex than rats. They drink for a variety of reasons, many of them psychological and I don’t think rats think too much, just basic skills and even those don’t mimic humans to the degree we need.


    Utterly despicable. I’m sure they would price the poor out everything not useful to them if they could. They would price them out of existence if they were not needed to do the dirty work.

    I’m a very moderate drinker myself. I have had my moments when it was a problem but living where I do I can get three bottles of the local beer for a dollar. That is plenty for a sitting. Bottled water can be more expensive!

    Already UK alcohol prices are too high and it is a very unfair tax. Problem drinkers will not drink less because it is expensive. They will economise elsewhere and turn ever more to the black market. Soft drugs are often preferred because they are cheaper than alcohol. I’m not sure this is true but users have told me so.

    I detest taxes on tobacco, alcohol and petrol. Consumption of all three should be reduced but while they are a cash cow for the uk gov there is little motivation to make this happen.

    • MJ

      Minimum pricing is not a tax. No extra money goes to the government. The money will be retained by the producers and retailers. The most likely effect is that consumers will abandon ‘cheap’ alcohol (which will no longer be cheap) in favour of more expensive alcohol less affected by the price increase.

      • AAMVN

        I’m not up to speed on the details of minimum pricing, but by ‘tax’ I meant the tax that already inflates the prices of alcohol [and tobacco/petrol] beyond the affordable reach of many.

        Had I the power I would abolish taxes on all three. I suppose they are called ‘duties’ but the idea is the same.

        • Habbabkuk

          “Had I the power I would abolish taxes on all three.”

          And make up the revenue shortfall by taxing the 1% more, eh!


          • kief

            You could save a lot of revenue by cutting that Star Chamber down to a single Kleptocrat.

            It’s a Fascist’s Prerogative !! Lol.

  • the consul

    Neoliberal ideology dictates that the precariat be viewed as authors of their own misfortune who lack the necessary personal qualities required to be successes. This is the view the neoliberal elites wish their obedient media to inculcate in the sections of the populace that are only just keeping themselves from being included among the numbers of the precariat.

    In an era when there is strong discouragement from our neoliberal masters in the political and corporate classes to collectively organise against the relentless erosion of political, economic and social rights it is important not to give in to the mainstream media attempts to create a moral panic over the phenomenon of teenage drinking. Alcoholism in society is a symptom of our problems and not a cause of them. The causes are the neoliberal erosion of our humanity through militarism, surveillance, corporate power, consumerism instead of economic rights and the hollowing out of meaningful democratic processes.

    The SNP is not a neoliberal party but in pursuing measures like this aimed at the precariat they are attempting to fight the depredations caused by neoliberalism in a wholly negative way which can only reinforce negative stereotypes of the precariat. Which thus renders opposition to neoliberalism that little bit harder. Which thus serves to hinder the goal of Scottish independence.

    • Phil Ex Frog

      the consul

      I agree with most of what you say and my comment above about Rat Park argues along similar lines. However, addiction somewhat predates the last few decades and so blaming neo-liberalism is most certainly misplaced.

      • the consul

        I don’t blame neoliberalism for the 18th century gin craze depicted by Hogarth. I don’t blame neoliberalism for the bread riots of ancient Rome. However as the prevailing political and economic paradigm neoliberalism causes much of our social problems. Young Brits who go to Kavos or wherever to drink like mad and fall down in the street don’t do it because they enjoy it but do it out of despair at the conditions of our society caused by the 1% and their insatiable greed for money and power.

        • Martinned

          Young Brits who go to Kavos or wherever to drink like mad and fall down in the street don’t do it because they enjoy it but do it out of despair at the conditions of our society caused by the 1% and their insatiable greed for money and power.

          Really? They sure seem to enjoy it. Do you have mind reading powers that you’d like to share with the group?

          • the consul

            People who are under the influence of alchohol usually do look like they’re enjoying it. Simple science explains that. It takes socio-political enquiry to understand why binge drinking is so prevalent among young adults.

        • Habbabkuk

          “Young Brits who go to Kavos or wherever to drink like mad and fall down in the street don’t do it because they enjoy it but do it out of despair at the conditions of our society caused by the 1% and their insatiable greed for money and power.”

          I couldn’t agree more. It’s exactly the same despair that drives the Bullingdon Boys to commit their excesses.

          You are really a prize chump, aren’t you…. 🙂

          • Phil the ex-frog

            Hab and Martinned

            Gentlemen, it appears the moderator doesn’t like me calling you nasty names. Nomatter. Let me try again.

            Neither of you understand what you are talking about. You just sneer orthodoxy. Come on then, prove me wrong. You don’t believe that addiction is environmental. Come on then, explain what you think addiction is.

          • Phil the ex-frog

            Hab, Martinned

            It’s true that above the consul makes a sweeping generalisation and contradicts herself. Yet the funny thing is she is still way more on the money than you two.

            You’ve done a lot of sneering on this thread yet have forwarded not one argument. Come on gents, engage for once. Otherwise people might get the impression that you got nothing. Hell, engage and you might find that out yourself.

            So you do not hold with the idea that addiction is environemntal. OK. What do you think addiction is?

    • bevin

      You are quite right. I fear, however, that the SNP is finding it more and more difficult to resist the neo-liberal spirit of the age before last.

  • Habbabkuk

    The more I read this latest post from Craig the more appalled I am – with both its thrust and its mendacious argumentation.

    For example:

    “Alcohol Focus Scotland state “Minimum pricing will mainly affect the low cost, high strength drinks favoured by harmful drinkers and younger drinkers.” By which they mean poorer drinkers.”

    The first sentence is a quotation – fair enough? The second sentence is Craig, drawing a mendacious conclusion.

    I suggest to Craig that his second sentence should read as follows:

    “By which they mean people who want to get drunk as quickly and as cheaply as possible”.

    And that is what he’s supporting…?

    • kief

      To Phil’s point, raising the price will only move them to more dangerous intoxicants like wood alcohol or ?

      Are you saying it’s more humane to kill them quickly?

    • George

      People who buy “low cost” drinks so that they can “get drunk as quickly and as cheaply as possible” are “poorer drinkers”.

  • fred

    This stupid and unjust law is a result of other stupid and unjust laws. The smoking ban in pubs and the reduction in blood alcohol level for driving means that people have stopped going out and socialising to take a drink and public houses are going out of business at an alarming rate. Why pay pub prices or go out and not even dare have one drink when you can buy drink cheaply in the supermarket and not have to stand outside in a blizzard to have a smoke? The authoritarian SNP think they can just keep on passing stupid unjust laws and make things right but they only ever make things worse. Teenagers will sniff glue, drink aftershave if they can’t afford alcohol they certainly won’t go teetotal. The families of alcoholics will suffer all the more, they will get their drink somehow. The poor sensible drinker will pay the price for all the SNP inflicted misery.

    Time to dig out the old still I reckon, I’m not paying £5 a bottle for cider.

      • fred

        I’m just someone on a low income who sometimes has enough money left after the bills are paid for a bottle of cider. Not everyone who drinks cheap alcohol does so because they are alcoholic or because they want to get as drunk as possible as quickly as possible, some drink it because they are poor.

        You sound like a fuckwit fatcat bigot who looks down on the lower classes you consider unwashed peasants.

        • Martinned

          So what do you propose? Giving everyone a personal quota restricting how much alcohol they are allowed to buy each month? Because that wouldn’t be fascist at all…

          • Trowbridge H. Ford

            Oh, I see your post now.

            I propose that people make their own quotas, but if they decide to drink themselves to death, they should do it on their own rather than foist some of the costs and concerns on others.

          • Martinned

            Sure, but how do you see that working in practice. Because somehow I think if we let unemployed alcohol addicts starve (and freeze to death) on the streets of Glasgow, Craig would be the first to write an outraged blog post.

          • fred

            No, I’m not proposing that at all.

            Prohibition does not work. Countries with cheaper and more readily available alcohol than Scotland don’t have the same problems, minimum pricing will have no social benefits whatsoever.

          • Trowbridge H. Ford

            I handle regularly in pracitce, here in New Haven.

            Just last night, a wobbly guy with a can of ale in his hand, rang my doorbell, and asked if he could earn a few dollars by raking up the leaves around my backdoor.

            I gave him $6.00, and told him to go ahead rather than give him some lecture on alcohol’s dangers, hoping he would settle for some nourishment.

            He left after about five minutes of work, and I hope he did what I hoped, but I doubt it..

        • Trowbridge H. Ford

          I am quite content for you to drink yourself to death.

          I only mentioned people behaving like you in Scotland, and what it costs more sensible ones.

          And my original point was mentioning middle class people committing suicide despite the cover up by the record keepers.

          • fred

            Are you deaf daft or just fucking stupid? I just said I don’t drink much at all, I can’t afford to, even at today’s prices a bottle of cider has to last two or three days.

            Unless you assume all poor people are alcoholic?

          • Trowbridge H. Ford

            I just concluded so because of your statement about how you had reacted to all controls to reduce smoking and alcoholic consumption.

            And you certainly sound as if you have developed serious mental problems from it.

          • Habbabkuk


            I promise to send you the pecuniary equivalent of a big bottle of (new minimum price) cider every week for a full year if you’ll just close the tap for that piss you’re posting.

            Just let me have your address and a cheque will be on the way!

      • Habbabkuk

        Your reference to medicos is very apposite, Trowbridge.

        I am surprised that none of the ardent defenders of the thesis of an over-extended ans under-funded National Health Service has yet picked up on this aspect;

        Perhaps they have never been in an Accident and Emergency Unit as of a weekend evening…..

        • Trowbridge H. Ford

          Thanks, Habby, but the problems go far beyond the ER.

          I have a close friend who is suffering from alcoholic neuropathy, it seems, but won’t admit it.

          She is suffering from pain, etc., in her limbs, especially in one of her legs, but keeps thinking it is a bug, something she ate, or other bizarre causes, forcing her to complain regularly, and for me to take her to a doctor a few times a week.

          It’s reaching a crisis point now, and I am going to one of her doctors soon to see if some solution to the problem can be found.

          Your body is totally affected by alcoholism.

    • Habbabkuk

      “Time to dig out the old still I reckon, I’m not paying £5 a bottle for cider.”

      Fred as the moonshine hillbilly, I just love it 🙂

  • Martinned

    I love how a policy adopted by the most left-wing major party in the UK that targets low-income problem drinkers is somehow portrayed as an evil conservative law. Huh????

    • kief

      If this were a black/white world, you would have a point.

      Progressives are the useful idiots of Progressivism/Neoliberal left who along with conservatives, have a fascist streak down their backs.

      • Martinned

        Yes, which is why liberals like me typically don’t vote for Labour or the LibDems, but hold our noses and vote Tory. (On those occasions when non-Brits like me get the chance.) But overregulation isn’t normally a concern for most commenters on this blog.

  • Habbabkuk

    “…it is a law informed by the contempt the bourgeoisie feel for their social “inferiors”.”



    Heavy drinking – as is gambling – is a social scourge which has brought misery to untold numbers of people and their families.

    And mostly to the people whose economic position is the least able to cope.

    So I say: anything which attempts to discourage heavy drinking and gambling – especially by those who can least afford them – vy making them less and less affordable – has Habbabkuk’s vote.

    After all, it worked with tobacco (cigarettes) didn’t it?

  • Habbabkuk

    “….and – horror of horrors – the young! I drank a great deal more at university than I do now, and I consider the pleasures of that time a great boon to my life3

    Ah yes – the middle class lad getting pissed frequently as part of his university experience.

    Not quite the same as unemployed youngsters in the un-nicer parts of the UK’s towns and cities…..

    • kief

      I’ve noticed your inconsistent response to inquiry, but I suspect the reason is not due to timidity.

  • Sharp Ears

    Sorry. Please delete and replace with:

    Lagavulin Malt Whisky 70cl
    £48.50 – £70.00
    Chateauneuf de Pape
    £13.00 – £93.95 (2012)

    The above are not within the pockets of those living on food banks evidently whereas 4 tins of Fosters cost £3.50 or 12 for £20.00

    Whatever the price, it’s all ethanol C2H5OH which kills in the end.
    3 Adverse effects
    3.1 Loss of balance
    3.2 Gastrointestinal diseases
    3.3 Short-term toxic allergy-like responses
    3.4 Long-term

  • kief

    If one looks at the Trump vote you will notice many African americans voted for him. Why?

    Again, too complex to detail everything here, but Progressives (DNC) through their well-meaning but wrong-headed social reforms (1964) which were intended to level the playing field, became an entitlement which grew into a self-aggrandizing bureaucracy that made them all addicts to public assistance.

    Just like we made a race of fetal-alcohol syndrome Native Americans and in that process destroyed noble cultures. Good intention is the cheapest of all virtues.

      • bevin

        This is sheer racism. Consider the alternative which is to prevent First Nations people, per se, from exercising their freedom of choice. And you call yourself a liberal!!!

        • Martinned

          On the contrary. My comment was not limited to First Nations (I just mentioned them because Kief did). In general, good liberal policy entails making sure that the price mechanism internalises externalities whenever possible. And because alcohol consumption has externalities such as burdens on the healthcare system and on the unemployment insurance system, some form of excise duty is appropriate.

    • fred

      And not brewed in Scotland.

      Of course after minimum pricing, in effect a trade tariff, someone in Scotland would be able to drink whisky for the same price per unit.

      Imagine if Westminster decided to put extra duty on Scotch whisky in England to make the local brews the more favourable option?

      • the consul

        Imagine if Westminster designated a sizable portion Scotch whisky exports as English exports and not Scottish exports……….. Oh wait we don’t have to imagine. They actually do.

          • Republicofscotland

            Though not everything is as it seems.

            “Every penny that is spent in a Scottish supermarket belonging to one of the large UK chains – like Morrisons, Tesco, Asda, Sainsburys, or, if you’re posh, M&S – generates VAT revenue for the UK Treasury that is identified as originating from the company’s head office, which is most often in London or the South East of England. It doesn’t count as Scottish revenue, despite the fact it’s a tax paid on sales in Scotland.”

            “Since it doesn’t count as Scottish revenue, none of this money is credited to Scotland in the UK Government’s GERS (Government Expenditure and Revenues Scotland) figures, the figures upon which much of the argument about Scotland’s economic viability is based, and which Westminster uses to tell us how poor we are.”


          • Republicofscotland

            Of course I could add that British embassies, charge the Scottish whisky industry £3000 pound a whip to promote the sales of Scotch whisky.

            In contrast, when UK trade and Investment groups hold similar events they are allowed to use the facilities for free.


            It would appear that the British government, is bleeding the whisky industry, in the same way they bled, the oil and gas industry.

            Independence is a must for Scotland.

          • fred

            “Though not everything is as it seems.”

            We were talking about whisky exports.

            There is no such thing as whisky export duty.

  • kief

    I’ve heard of a price-freeze during inflationary times…always a long term mistake. And I’ve heard of raising taxes on targeted goods. Never heard of a government forcing business to price themselves out of a market.

    Alice…through the Looking Glass.

    • fred

      They tried prohibition in America, it didn’t work and it made a lot of money for underworld gangs.

      Someone could buy cider in England, make a profit of £1 a bottle and still undercut the shops by £2 a bottle after minimum pricing. Plus they would have a larger market if they didn’t ask kids for ID.

      The border isn’t that far and there are lots of enterprising folk with Transit vans.

        • kief

          Too funny. The Law often precedes self-interest..(IOW; self-fulfilling prophecy) so when you talk about consumables and taxes they are indistinguishable. I know that’s beyond your acumen, but maybe in the next life some muscle memory will advise.

      • Habbabkuk

        “Someone could buy cider in England, make a profit of £1 a bottle and still undercut the shops by £2 a bottle after minimum pricing.”

        Which is a good argument for introducing minimum pricing in England as well – at the same rate.

          • Habbabkuk

            HMRC regularly confiscate quantities of alcohol and tobacco which it considers to have been imported from the Continent for commercial/resale rather than personal consumption reasons.

            But I suspect it’s been a long time since Fred – who has to stretch his pint of Bulmer’s Best over three days – has been over to the Continent.

          • fred

            Don’t need to go to the continent, the customs don’t get a fraction of it. Even in the remote Highlands of Scotland you can buy smuggled tobacco on any street corner. Along with a host of other supposedly illegal substances.

          • Habbabkuk

            Oh sorry Fred, when you talked about the “channel” I thought you meant the English Channel and therefore the Continent.

            Anyway, enjoy that illegal baccy and those illegal substances and do keep watching TV without a licence.

          • kief

            ” enjoy that illegal baccy and those illegal substances and do keep watching TV without a licence.”

            Spoken like a lifetime member of the Golden Fleece Society.

  • Habbabkuk

    “For those who find the hardships of life hard to take, the solace of alcohol can be considerable. ”

    That sounds suspiciously similar to the sort of imbecilic argument which is often trotted out by the “it’s all the fault of society ” brigade.

    The fact is that the majority of those who are faced with “the hardships of life” do not turn to alcohol for “solace”.

    In the same way as the majority of poor people do not shoplift or steal or mug people.

    • bevin

      I sometimes wonder whether you are actually real or just a parody of ‘Victorian’ Evangelical attitudes.
      I suspect that you regard the proper behaviour, of those facing the ‘hardships of life’ under capitalism, is for them to fall to their knees, clasp their hands together and thank their Redeemer for his loving kindness in bringing them daily closer to the grave which will launch them into green pastures and eternal peace.
      You are Hannah More and I claim my Five Pound prize.

        • Habbabkuk

          And you, five eurocents. 🙂

          Sharp Ears – please give us your opinion on minimum pricing, given the strain alcohol-related conditions and accidents impose on what is often claimed to be an over-stretched and under-funded NHS.

  • bevin

    It is not surprising but interesting that it is precisely those who preen themselves on their liberalism, their objections to ‘social engineering’ and the alleged regimentation of socialism, who rush to defend what Craig properly characterises as a disgraceful piece of legislation.

    The fact that it appears to have received support from all parties is just a reminder that the poor have no party and that the legislature is dominated by a class which can only keep a straight face by combining its self serving greed with an hypocrisy perfected over centuries.

    They reduce the people to poverty by stealing their wealth and charging rents for the services, including energy utilities, society has deemed necessary and worthy of providing at no or small cost. Then they export the capital which represents their ill gotten gains in order to pay less for the labour, on whose exploitation they live. Faced now with a population which is not only poor but unemployed they have the gall to blame this on popular vices which they propose to eradicate by charging more for.
    The great majority of consumers will now be paying more out of their shrinking budgets on the purported grounds that they waste money and, for their own good, must be punished.

    The question is how long they will allow this to continue. And my considered opinion is ‘not much longer.’

    The pitchforks, and in some countries the small arms, are being picked up all over the ‘western world.’ This callous, stupid and insensitive piece of legislation just makes it more likely that the coming explosion will be one besides which the Great Terror in the 1790s will appear to be a placid and restrained performance.

  • Republicofscotland

    “For those who find the hardships of life hard to take, the solace of alcohol can be considerable. It can assist the shy.”


    Yes if taken in moderation, but that’s not the case here I think. Alcohol, is a major factor in domestic violence, criminal activities, assaults etc.

    When you add in that alcohol, costs the economy millions every year, through the emergency services tending to alcohol related incidents, and the amount of time the medical services in A&E are strung out treating alcohol related incidents, then you realise there’s a major problem.

    In my opinion, anything that discourages people from buying that extra bottle of cheap cider, or cheap wine, which could lead them to committing an offence or see them taken to A&E, is a step in the right direction.

    If you have higher alcohol pricing, those with less money should in theory buy less alcohol.

    Scotland has a long and dismal association with heavy alcohol misuse, something has too change, alcohol is a potent chemical, when abused, it more often than not, causes misery and sorrow.

    In the wider field Brits, in my opinion, in most part, see drinking alcohol as a right of passage the more you drink the more respect your fellow drinkers bestow upon you, getting legless is seen as comical and normal.

    Whilst in France or Italy, it appears that alcohol, is more of a addition when dinning in or out.

    Attitudes to alcohol need to change in Britain, sadly I doubt that will hapoen anytime soon.

    • Sharp Ears

      You are correct. The problem is particularly serious in Scotland. Chapter and verse here.

      Alcohol facts and figures
      Alcohol consumption in Scotland – from Scottish Health Survey 2015
      •1 in 4 people (26%) drink at hazardous or harmful levels (defined as drinking more than 14 units per week).
      •Drinking more than 14 units a week was reported by 36% of men and 17% of women.
      •Men drink an average of 17.2 units of alcohol a week, and women drink an average of 8.7 units a week.
      •16% of people say they are non-drinkers.

      Alcohol-related deaths in Scotland – from National Records of Scotland
      •There were 1,150 alcohol-related deaths in 2015 (where alcohol was the underlying cause of death).
      •764 of those deaths were men, 386 were women.
      •Over the years since 1979, there have been roughly twice as many male deaths as female deaths.
      •491 deaths were people aged 45-59, 412 deaths in the 60-74 age group, 130 deaths in the 30-44 age group, and smaller numbers for other age groups.
      •The 45-59 age group has had the largest number of alcohol-related deaths in almost every year since 1979.
      •Although alcohol-related deaths have declined in recent years, rates remain higher than they were in the early 1980s and higher than those in England and Wales. (from MESAS 4th annual report)

      Alcohol-related hospital stays in Scotland – from Alcohol-related Hospital Statistics Scotland 2014/15
      •There were 35,059 alcohol-related hospital stays in 2014/15.
      •91% resulted from an emergency admission.
      •71% of alcohol-related stays were men.
      •Rates were highest in the 55-59 age group for men and the 50-54 age group for women.
      •Rates were nearly 8 times higher for people living in the most deprived areas compared with the least deprived.
      •Sunday is the busiest day for emergency admissions (4,938), although the number is relatively similar across all days.
      •Saturdays and Sundays are the busiest days for admissions of patients aged 15-19.

      Alcohol-related GP consultations in Scotland – from ScotPHO
      •There were an estimated 94,630 alcohol-related primary care consultations by 48,420 patients in 2012/13.
      •Consultation rates were highest for those aged 65 and over.

      and so on

    • michael norton

      What utter shit.

      How can it be right to punish the poor by depriving them of drink.
      Why not take what little they have and give it to the elite.

      I do not think the people of Ireland, Wales or England would put up with this nonsense.

        • Republicofscotland

          I hope that’s sarcasm Martinned?

          Some in here do not realise that alcohol abuse, affects their chances of getting a hospital appointment sooner than later.

          As doctors and surgeons/specialist consultants time, is/are taken up with patients suffering from conditions related to alcohol abuse.

          The NHS, is I’m afraid already under immense pressure, including other forms of substance abuse, alcohol abuse only compounds the matter.

  • fred

    Buy a pint of beer in a pub in your lunch hour and sit at a table outside with an umbrella on it and nobody will even notice you.

    Buy a can of cider in the off-license and sit on a bench in the park to drink it and watch the noses in the air of the passers by.

    • michael norton

      Why is Scotland turning into a politically correct state?

      Police Scotland have said their highest priority is
      LGBTI hate crime.

      Frau Sturgeon looks down her nose at UKIP and at The Donald, they tried to ban Donald from Scotland, the land of his mother,
      because of political correctness gone barking mad.
      It’s like the mad hatters tea party in the world of the SNP lunatics.

      • michael norton

        If Scotland makes so much money out of Whiskey,
        why do the SNP want Scottish people to stop drinking the stuff?

        It’s a conundrum,
        like global warming,
        why keep digging for coal – gas- oil?

        • michael norton

          If the SNP do not like Donald Trump, why let him build golf courses /holiday parks – SNP make money out of it
          If the SNP do not like Global Warmiong, why dig for coal – gas – oil – SNP make money out of it
          If the SNP do not want people to get drunk, why allow whiskey making – SNP make money out of it
          If the SNP do not like wars / British Navy, why build two new super aircraft carriers – SNP make money out of it
          If the SNP do not like Conservative/Labour M.P.’s fiddling , why do the SNP do it – SNP make money out of it.

          and so on


      • fred

        You are the only one talking about school gates, I said a bench in the park.

        So drinking a can of cider while sitting on a bench in the park frightens children but drinking beer sitting outside a pub on the high street doesn’t why?

      • fred

        I can’t afford Buckfast Wine or Carlsberg Special Brew, both of which won’t be affected by minimum pricing BTW they both already cost more than 50p a unit.

  • Fwl

    David Hockney when partly explaining why he left the UK for the US complained of the class prejudice inherent in UK drinking up laws. I used to think he had a point, but I began to reflect during the time of Blair New Labour’s liberalisation project. Blair liberalised drinking hours, casino and alcohol licensing, stripping, sex clubs and was intending to liberalise drug trade and prostitution. All of these have some arguments behind them but taken as a whole they are simply un-civilising. What is the point of freedom from censorship if the best you come up with is Eurotrash and Rapido. Which is worse being patronised or finding out how uninspired and unambitious you are when you have freedom?

    Anyway if tax makes it unaffordable learn to home brew.

    BTW book is now in London stores: Foyles and some Waterstones. Started to read and am enjoying it.

  • Vronsky

    An ex-wife was a councillor to alcoholics. When they reported for help there was a preliminary interview where they talked about themselves and their lives. My wife said that listening to these tales she often felt that the best advice she could give was to tell them to go out and have a drink.

  • mealer

    It’s a law informed by the BMA and others.They may be the bourgeoisie but I think it’s worth listening to them and giving this idea a go.If it doesn’t work it won’t be ill to scrap.

  • Phil the ex-frog

    “Why should I?”

    I was just offering you the opportunity to back up your bitching. Of course you refuse. You are incapable of arguing your case. You simply do not understand the subject. You just parrot crap mistaking condescension for substance. Same as ever.

    • Habbabkuk

      Mon cher Phil

      “I was just offering you the opportunity to back up your bitching.”

      Err, not really .

      You were asking for my opinion on something thrown up by you and mentioned by no one else – ie, addiction.

      I – and most others on here – am discussing minimum pricing.

      How can I back up what I was saying about minimum pricing by giving you my opinion on addiction?

  • Rarified

    I guess if you’re someone whose job it is to pick up the pieces of alcoholism – say as a counsellor, police officer or A&E nurse – then you may be inclined to do ANYTHING that reduces the harm you see on a daily basis. In fact, I’d bet the compulsion to act would be similar to that felt by the chap whose job it was to scrape bodies from car bonnets before the “bourgeoise” inflicted seatbelts on us all.

    Alcoholism is an area-effect weapon. One person’s choices (be they rich or poor) can have detrimental effects on many others. It’s society’s job to spot this cluster bomb and legislate against it. This decision has come after years of pleading by support groups and services. I don’t see it as a social engineering or any of that claptrap.

    I’d genuinely love to hear other people’s ideas for smothering the area-effect of alcoholism…

    • kief

      With a gentle nudge I would like to amend “It’s society’s job to spot this cluster bomb and legislate against it. ”

      I rather think it is society’s job to find the cause rather than react to the affect. The problem then becomes ‘how to legislate that’ and there’s the rub. When you start dallying in the private business of others you should think about education and voluntary programs if one WISHES to participate. This is the fine line between tyranny and democracy.

    • fred

      But I keep seeing our government singing the praises of the Scottish whisky industry. I see calls to make it bigger and stronger. To promote Scotch Whisky world wide, to help it prosper and grow stronger.

      Now you say it is evil? Brings naught but misery?

      • Habbabkuk

        The Scottish whisky industry is now headed by Craig’s old mucker David Frost.

        Actually, David Frost was (and I’m sure still is) a good guy.

        • fred

          I just don’t understand. The government is saying how terrible alcohol is and we must legislate to prevent people drinking it then the next minute they are saying how wonderful alcohol is and we must legislate to get more people drinking it.

          Could you explain?

  • Talbert Philip

    Having spent a life in retail, cheap alcohol is a curse for those who need it. The middle class can afford to pay the premium. They can probably better deal with it. The minimum pricing is a step in the right direction and can only help those unfortunate enough to be dependent. Pricing might be a blunt weapon but at least it’s a start..

  • sam


    Here is one reason for the “minimum pricing” policy.

    “The findings from UK cohort studies provide evidence to suggest that social causation plays a role in the development
    of problem alcohol use in midlife. That is, people who experience social disadvantage in early life or adulthood are at
    greater risk of adopting problem drinking behaviours later in life. There was some inconsistency across studies as to
    whether deprivation in childhood or adulthood had the greater impact on patterns of drinking. However, the finding that
    intergenerational disadvantage is associated with a higher risk of problem drinking than disadvantage at a particular
    life stage (Batty et al., 2008, Caldwell et al., 2008) has been identified in studies conducted internationally (Cerdá et al.,
    2011, Mossakowski, 2008).

    Here is the link to the research.

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