Monday, 14 May 2012

Scotland introduces another tax on the poor...


...and pretends it's about health.

Minimum pricing for alcohol - which arrives in Scotland courtesy of their Chief Nanny, Nicola Sturgeon - is simply an impost on those least able to afford. Its proponents gleefully tell us that it won't make a jot of difference to those of us already buying pricier wine or drinking in pubs.

Which means that it is going to affect those folk buying cheap drink - the poorest. Indeed, the entire argument for minimum pricing is based on the same judgement that Titus Salt used to ban drinking among his workforce while serving wine to his guests up at the big house. The poor can't be trusted with the demon drink whereas the sort of folk that Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon socialise with are just fine.

The truth of all this is that what many of minimum pricing's advocates dislike isn't that young people (it's always young people having a good time who these people condemn) drink but that they do so publicly, that they are not embarrassed by occasional over-indulgence and that this drinking is accompanied by loudness, lewdness and insufficient demureness in female dress.

And a special opprobrium is reserved for those who - for whatever reason - opt for al fresco, impromptu drinking. Not the street drinking regulars (although the same folk who want minimum pricing also prefer to move these drinkers out of sight rather than doing something to help them out) but the kids on the park wall with a couple of cans and a plastic bottle of cider. Especially if those youngsters look a little too lower class for normal folk.

Sadly - for the drinkers who pay more and for those concerned about alcohol harm reduction - the minimum pricing proposals won't change a thing. Of course, some research from within nannying fussbucket circles, will show how admissions to hospital have fallen or some such conclusion - on the back of spending one evening at two hospitals. The usual advocates of temperance will be rolled out to say that more must be done and the media will grasp at another campaign to "solve" the "problem" of drinking and our "binge-drinking culture".

As Janet Hood in the Scotsman recently reminded us, back when drink was expensive, licensing laws were tighter and police really did arrest people for being drunk and disorderly there was still a problem:

I went to university in the mid-70s when alcohol was considerably more expensive than today. I remember my first stroll around the city that was to be my home for four years. Edinburgh was amazing! I wound my way through its ancient streets until I came to the Grassmarket, where I encountered the “good ole boys” who were not “drinking whisky and rye” but meths and milk enlivened with hairspray. 

Minimum pricing is simply a tax on the honest poor imposed by morally judgemental middle-class doctors, lawyers and politicians. It is obscene.



Tony said...

Great comments. It is as if anyone with a drink problem must be poor, which is certainly not the case. Education to the dangers is the best way, not trying to price it out of the reach of responsible poor people who enjoy a drink.

Shocking tactics from out-of-touch people.

Anonymous said...

Nicely summed up.

I get more angered by the week, first they fuck me over for being a smoker, now they ramp up my drink prices.

And again, Scotland is the test-bed before the rest of the UK.

And this shit from a supposedly "nationalist" government, fuck off...

johnd2008 said...

I live not far south of the border. I am thinking of loading up a Transit van and doing a bit of bootlegging,stand to make a fortune.

David Davis said...

The result of all this is that people will resort to brewing and also (dare I say it or will my door be busted down at 4 am in case I have "apparatus"?) distilling their own.

While this campaign goes on yet further, it is still not, as far as I can see, illegal to buy, sell or possess (for use) scientific apparatus suitable for fermentation and/or distillation.

Peple should take advantage of this while they can. I bet you 5p that you're not allowed to buy "Quikfit" glassware online, in North Korea!

Anonymous said...


I'm ambivalent about this minimum pricing, I think it might work but only as part of a wider program, what is obvious is something needs to be done about it up here; its a real problem.

Firstly it's not an attack on the poor, you would have to assume that poor folk always drink the cheapest booze, the fact is, they don't. Take buckfast for example, the drink of choice for the Scottish chav (or so we are told) It's not affected as it's already above the 50p mark.

It's the really cheap paint stripper ciders and premixed drinks that do the damage, in many cases its cheaper than the fuel you'd need to do that cross border drinks run, rendering that enterprise non-viable.

It probably wouldn't affect most folk because the booze you buy is already over the limit, even the boxed wine I buy is already over the limit and I'm a pretty cheap date.

I'm really not keen on nanny politics, but it is a problem up here so I'm willing to try stuff out and see what works.

This seems to be aimed at the kind of people who properly binge drink (meaning pints in double figures, not the measly 2 pints the gov thinks is binge drinking) who aren't poor and people who are basically drunk all the time, they don't care how they do it and are poor because of it.

The idea being there is a policing saving on the former and an NHS saving on the latter.

No idea if it'll work mind but we'll give it a go.