Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Well...err...actually probably not.
What is more likely may well be booze drives in 4x4s to Cumbria or Northumberland. Teenagers laughing outside supermarkets as they drink their illegally gained Buckfast Tonic wine incredulous as the middle classes have to queue twice to get their more expensive Chardonnay or Whisky to enjoy with or after their meal.
Yesterday Nicola Sturgeon laid out the SNP plans which they feel will tackle Scotland's drink problem a "social responsibility fee". The only thing the SNP would appear to have learned, from recent errors, is that said tax, sorry fee, will be set by local authorities, however they will have to fund a way of collecting this. The SNP haven't said they will provide the funding to allow for that: no real surprise there then.
They think that introducing a second supermarket alcohol only counter will prevent 'impulse' buying of alcohol by shaming people into not buying it. Shame may not be the problem, inconvenience maybe. On Monday while I was in Tesco I heard three calls for all staff to go man the tills while I was shopping, a separate booze till may well have meant the shelves would never have been replenished.
A closer look at the SNP's minimum pricing rule say 35p per unit shows that while McEwans Export premium would go from £2.08 to £2.80 per liter, Whisky and Wine would be up but just under 25%, supermarket own brand lager would go up by 32%. However the drink of preference of on-street, teenage drinkers, the bottles that litter the streets every morning through the weekend and school holidays, Buckfast, would remain unchanged. Sure the SNP plan to stop them getting their alcohol for 3 more years until they turn 21 but the ones who already break the law by getting some before their 18th are hardly likely to be put off by that law change.
In essence the SNP will be increasing exports of Scottish Whisky, especially to Carlisle and Berwick being the first stops of the booze drives to England. After all Whisky is not an impulse buy for most enjoyers of the odd dram so they will happily stock up on trips to England. So shipping costs of Whisky will increase, pollution to transport it once to England to sell then back to Scotland to drink will increase our carbon footprint.
Also agitated shoppers hoping to have a nice bottle of wine with their meal will have to queue twice in busy supermarkets, adding to trolley rage and car park rage. Only the ardent young drinker it seems will remain relatively non-plussed by the whole experience, either having to create fake ID with an earlier date of birth, or more worryingly befriending some over 21 rather than over 18 to buy them some drink.
Wow it looks like the Nats are doing everybody else's jobs for them in how to win back Nat votes. Keep up the good work.