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Thursday, September 02, 2010

Minimum alchohol price will not prevent Scottish alchoholism

There is an ongoing debate in Scotland on how to curb alcoholism among the Scottish people. The governing party, the Scottish National Party, is proposing to enforce a 45p per unit minimum price on alcoholic products. Apparently the number 45p is very scientific; the Scottish Government is claiming that this minimum will lead to 50 fewer deaths and 1200 fewer hospital emissions.

How exactly did they come up with those numbers? I picture some academic or civil servant somewhere with a calculator (“Okay so if we make it 40p we will only save 35 lives, but with an extra 5p we can save 50 lives!”). Do they honestly think that human beings work that way? Do they really think that if they pull one lever or push a button they can direct society?

I have news for the Scottish nationalists; Scottish people love to get drunk. This isn’t just a stereotype. I recently lived above a bar in Scotland. Believe me when I say that the Scottish people love to get drunk. There is absolutely no way that a price floor will make a difference.

How do I know that for sure?

Because it has never worked anywhere else no matter where or when it has been tried.

The opposition parties say that all this measure will do is hurt the lower income responsible drinkers, and they are right. Someone who drinks more lightly may be less inclined to pay more, but someone who loves to get drunk will get drunk regardless of how much money they have to spend.

Society and individuals just simply cannot be engineered.

Posted by Hugh MacIntyre on September 2, 2010 | Permalink


I believe we have gone down this comment road before, Last year ??. The social engineering sickness is just as bad in Scotland as it is in Canada with the same mentality at play. These social activists all seem to have tunnel vision and never seem to learn that for every road block put up, people will find away around it. Usually it just goes underground as with our tobacco policy. The Scots will still get their booze no matter what the government strategy. What the government will probably get is less revenue, not more.

Posted by: peterj | 2010-09-02 9:38:30 PM

Ever since Mcguinty added a dollar to the minimum price of a 24 (24 for $24 is now $25), I've seen the light and no longer drink as much. I'm really glad we have a socially responsible government to protect me.
/End Sarcasm

No really it just means I cant afford that bag of chips that was produced by a company that employs people, which was transported to a store that employs people by a transportation company that employs people... nevermind that now I'm just as drunk without anything solid to help keep it down.

Posted by: EddieB | 2010-09-03 10:06:04 AM

No really it just means I cant afford that bag of chips that was produced ................
Posted by: EddieB | 2010-09-03 10:06:04 AM

This is the part social engineers never seem to understand. Everyone has priorities and if drinking is part of someones priority then other things take a back seat to that. They will usually look for a cheaper alternative, and that is always there. Roll your own, make your own or buy it under the table. Booze,tobacco,sex drugs or the good old barter system all mean tax revenues go down, not up. This is not rocket science. Which is why all the "experts" never seem to understand it. It always seems to me that the primary qualification to be a "expert" is a complete lack of common sense.

Posted by: peterj | 2010-09-03 9:15:56 PM

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