Friday, 27 May 2011

Scotland - The Future And The Past

Yesterday Alex Salmond laid out his five year vision for Scotland with a pledge to tackle sectarianism and alcoholic drink. He intends to bring back proposals to set a minimum price per unit of alcohol - a policy, although well intended, included some fairly thin evidence that raising prices would be the solution. It won't be the solution because alcohol is only part of the problem. Illegal drugs play a large role too but seem to be ignored.  Have we given up on the drugs 'war'?  Visit any Scottish court on a Monday morning and many of the cases involve both drink and drugs.  Both problems need to be addressed in this parliament.

It's to be hoped there will be a broad debate about sectarianism and avoid hasty, ill-conceived legislation being rushed onto the statute book. As yet I'm unclear about the proposal and was not impressed by Kenny MacAskill's performance on Tuesday's Newsnicht. He certainly appeared unclear too, although he should be aware it's not only related to football terraces but a culture spread widely throughout Scotland, particularly in the central west.  A clear definition needs to be made so as the public are in no doubt how sectarianism will be defined by law enforcers.

We have current laws which deal with drunkenness but they're seldom enforced.  Instead police convey the drunk to the nearest A & E instead of a police station.  The conveyance is often by ambulance for which no charge is made and more seriously, removes an ambulance from its role of attending emergencies. Drunkenness is avoidable, strokes and heart attacks are not.

Yesterday was a sad day in Moray as the three flying squadrons at RAF Kinloss were officially disbanded.  The airfield at the Moray base will cease to operate after 31 July. The Duke of Edinburgh, who is the Honorary Air Commodore to RAF Kinloss, was the reviewing officer.  At nearly 90 he deserves some praise for attending the event.

The Defence Secretary Liam Fox, was visiting Lossiemouth which is only 15 miles from RAF Kinloss, yet did not attend the occasion and refused to give a reason.  Some called him "insensitive" although I think that is far too polite, although could it be that he wasn't invited?  Yesterday's ceremony was private and for military personnel and families.  Not many would invite the hangman to a wake would they?


Dave Allison said...

"three flying squadrons at RAF Kinloss were officially disbanded. "


Thats less bombs will be dropped on innocents.

RMcGeddon said...

Nimrods are maritime patrol and rescue sailors in distress.

Yes it's disappointing.
The minimum pricing for alcohol will be defeated in one of the EU/ UK courts ( lost track of all these different courts ). Can't see the French sitting by while we pump up the price of their wine or the cheap beer imported from Germany etc. Buckfast Abbey won't be bothered with their tonic wine already at a safe and sensible £7.30 a bottle. Obviously the neds are rolling in cash and have a more expensive pallette. Oh and like you say no one ever asks why the police never use the powers they already have.

The sectarian laws will be laughed out of court or launch thousands of blogs all claiming freedom of speech. Endless debates over what's bigotry and what's not. And the police having to spend time tracking down bloggers on internet sites based abroad and accessed through proxy servers.
Meanwhile the press will be cock a hoop. Easy pickings and a chance to undermine the SNP in the run up to an independence referendum.

Oldrightie said...

The closing of military bases will continue throughout the UK, Lyneham in 2012, for example, as we hand more and more military capability to The EU dictatorship.

Woodsy42 said...

"strokes and heart attacks are not."

Of course they are. Don't smoke, avoid second and third hand smoke, eat less salt, avoid saturated fats, eat five veggies a day, stay skinny, take your statins, do exactly as you are told and you will live for ever and ever and ever. Didn't you know that?

Jo G said...

I watched Salmond on the Hour the other day Subrosa and he made a very valid point about the prize of booze now compared with years back. It is now cheaper, some of it, than water is. A bottle of wine is cheaper than a packet of ciggies. The deals, by supermarkets especially, produce a state of affairs whereby you can buy a can of strong lager for 20p. That can't be sensible. It encourages people to buy in bulk and consume in bulk too. The deals in spirits are equally worrying. Compare booze and cigarettes and the price hikes in teh latter over the years. Booze has not seen the same hikes: it has, as Salmond says, become cheaper. We need to address this.

William said...

The 'sectarianism' issue is a joke.

'17th century rivalry in the 21st century' - what's the Bannockburn Day celebrations all about, then?

'memory of battles that no-one alive fought in' - so when the last WWI veteran dies, Salmond wants it wiped from our society, never to be mentioned again? Is he serious?

A paedophile gets jailed in Scotland for 2 years for abusing 2 weans over 1000 times but Salmond wants to jail people for 5 years for singing the Sash? Is this a serious politician?

Oh, and the Minister charged with enforcing this crackpot law is Roseanna Cunningham, who discrimates against gay people because her religion tells her to.


JRB said...

I have real concerns, that the proposed minimum pricing of alcohol is misguided and will do nothing to address the problems it poses – we have to change society’s attitude towards drinking.

Marginalising and isolating the smoker has proven not to be the answer – we have to change society’s attitude towards smoking.

Both of these activities are currently still legal, in fact, we derive needed revenue from the imposition of tax on both smoking and drinking. Secondary legislation sniping at the edges of these activities smacks merely of the ‘nanny state’ and not a determined political effort to change society.

And what next? As the incidence of obesity and Type II Diabetes rockets, and with the pressures it places upon the NHS growing alarmingly, will we see the ‘nanny state’ impose a tax on the ‘jammie doughnut’ or the ‘pie and chips’ – or both?

As for sectarianism there is one, and only one solution. Till it is implemented we will never see an end to this issue.
And the solution is – remove religion from the education of our children.

Jo G said...

"As for sectarianism there is one, and only one solution. Till it is implemented we will never see an end to this issue.
And the solution is – remove religion from the education of our children."

I have to disagree with that statement. If our education system creates sectarianism wouldn't we all be bigots? Yet we aren't. That suggests to me that bigotry is taught in one place only and that is in the home, not in schools.

Also, for those who have kept up with changes over the years, there is no longer such a thing as a "catholic" school. All schools require to accept pupils of all denominations within their catchment area.

Furthermore there is a danger out there from secularists who have their own separate agenda to get religion, and those with beliefs, out of the debate altogether. It could be said then that to attack establishments simply because of religious associations is, in itself, an intolerant statement.

The other thing we should bear in mind is that bigotry/sectarianism isn't even about religion or God and those who indulge would not recognise God if He walked up and shook hands with them. They aren't remotely religious: if they were they would not behave as they do.

Brian said...

Perhaps this 2006 Act applying to England and Wales only will form the basis of Scottish religious hatred legislation.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

I think you can create a problem that in truth doesn't exist.

After all what is sectarianism other than bigotry exposed as ignorance.

In all my experience as a Scot I've never been confronted on a sectarian issue - though admittedly I've never been to a Celtic/Rangers match - and the confrontations I've had that involved bigotry have covered a spectrum just as wide in England as those in Scotland.

In my view this is an issue of limited importance being aired for the purpose of distracting attention from more important issues by the MSM.

And if anything substantive needs to be done then the two clubs involved should eradicate it by positive actions and example.

Jo G said...

John, thanks for introducing common sense here. The whole Celtic/Rangers thing, personally, leaves me cold. I have been to both Ibrox and Parkhead and found that the bigots in each place had much in common. I'd merge the clubs personally ; )

I love football but as a teenager I abandoned the Scottish scene and decided to follow an English team to sidestep all the baggage that went with football in the West of Scotland. I believe THAT is what is handed down from generation to generation and I have seen it on both sides. Some of these people have so much baggage I'm surprised they can have the strength to put one foot in front of the other and walk.

subrosa said...

Aye right Highland Cooncil. Braw isn't it?

In an independent Scotland who do you think will defend you. Kinloss hardware have seldom been involved in war but in patrolling out coastline (which is 2/3 of the UK) and helping with shipping disasters.

subrosa said...

Ooops RM I've just stolen your correct definition.

Rm I've banged on about the current legislation not being used but it's ignored. I don't like sudden laws being made when the current ones could suffice if the police did their jobs.

I'm kind of with you on your other points. I can't imagine how the law can deter free speech on blogs etc. So many blogs are hosted outwith UK restriction these days as they foresaw this.

subrosa said...

That is another tragedy OR, the closing of Lyneham. Of course it wasn't all an operation decision...

subrosa said...

Goodness me Woodsey, no I didn't. Perhaps it's because I don't bother with propaganda from quangos.

subrosa said...

Yes I know that Jo, but the price at the medium to top end has increased drastically since this was mooted. A bottle of good malt used to cost £20+. Now it's £35+. We do need to address it and firstly, the police need to enforce the law and the government shouldn't be persecuting the many who enjoy a drink.

subrosa said...

Hello William. When did Roseanna Cunningham discriminate against gays because of her religion?

Never mind William, you should be pleased that London has taken over decisions made by Scottish courts. The man Fraser would be freed in weeks.

subrosa said...

Indeed John, it's a cultural thing and banning smoking, drinking and free speech isn't good for a country.

What needs to be done is that people have to be told their responsibilities. As I said in the post drunks shouldn't automatically be taken to A & Es but to police cells and charged for the waste of police time.

I often wonder how many would drink themselves stupid if our ambulance and police services were withdrawn from helping drunks?

William said...

"When did Roseanna Cunningham discriminate against gays because of her religion?"

In the gay adoption legislation, SR.

"Never mind William, you should be pleased that London has taken over decisions made by Scottish courts. The man Fraser would be freed in weeks."

It's not 'taken over'. It's been there since the Scotland Act and it's very complicated regarding the European Convention on Human Rights and the ability of the Supreme Court to rule on Scots criminal cases with human rights issues as legislated for in the Scotland Act. If Alex Salmond didn't know about these legal issues before this week then he certainly knows now.

subrosa said...

William, that is not discrimination. I too believe the best thing for children is to be brought up in a close family environment consisting of a caring mother and father. I speak from experience.

subrosa said...

Thanks for the link Brian. Good one.

subrosa said...

I think it's greatly reduced over the years Crinkly yet it seems to be holding on in the west sadly.

It started with football clubs so it should finish there.

Jo G said...

Have to disagree Subrosa. It is a myth that sectarianism in Scotland is "only in the west". I've travelled throughout and I saw it well north, believe me. I used to think it was only in the west too until I went north. It is something Scotland needs to shake off and the sooner the better.

As for the "higher end" of the booze market, malts will survive because they were never the choice of those who favour the bargain buckets at the supermarkets. I'm sure they will be ok. Salmond would not want to hurt them. Nor should he.

Apogee said...

Hi SR, The link Brian indicated will only be applied to individuals who are Christians, it would seem, if ever used at all. A few days ago,the people responsible for the severe injury of a teacher of religions in a school were sentenced,their own words said they did it for religious reasons but seemingly no charges were brought under this act. I wonder why?

RMcGeddon said...

Jo said..

"malts will survive because they were never the choice of those who favour the bargain buckets at the supermarkets. I'm sure they will be ok"

It will be interesting to see what happens when the poor can no longer afford to self medicate themselves out of their miserable existence via cheap alcohol.
Maybe the NHS will increase the prescriptions of prozac and valium. That might be expensive.
We know that alcohol consumption won't reduce as the price increases through extra taxation via minimum pricing. The world isn't suddenly rosier for the poor when alcohol becomes more expensive. It gets more depressing. Living on a grey housing estate with paper thin walls to protect you from the noisy brute next door. A figure of fun for the latte drinkers at the BBC who commission programmes such as 'The Scheme'. No way out once you get to your 30's and have kids and no education.
Crime will increase as the 'bargain buckets' disappear. More money required for cheap ciders. The lefty affluent who enjoy fine malts sit smug as they look down their noses at white cider drinkers. Convinced that people prefer cheap cider to fine wine and beers. Such is their ignorance.
Illnesses will increase as the poor switch to home brews and white van man substitutes to blot out their lives. Hospital admissions will rise due to alcohol poisoning. None of this will bother the smug BBC who enjoy private health care at taxpayers expense.
How did we get here ?
Mostly Labour keeping their core vote in poverty for 70 years and not expecting anything else.
While they ditched them for the Lords and their fine malts.
Oh and Jo can you tell me where I can get a can of strong lager for 20p ? And a shop that sells bottles of water more expensive than beer ?
You've claimed both of these thngs so a link would be appreciated.

subrosa said...

Jo, I perhaps should have said ' more prevalent in the west'. I've never come across it here even when I was a child in Dundee.

The 'higher' end of the alcohol market has already seen big increases. My Tio Pepe has gone from £7.40 to £8.72 in the past 6 months. I've changed to a cheaper brand, not so good, but adequate.

subrosa said...

I've no idea why Apogee. Sorry. The interpretation of guidelines and laws are made to confuse the likes of me.

subrosa said...

Valid points RM. The home brew place is Forfar has never been so busy a friend was saying the other week.

Jo G said...

RMcG, I have watched the programme "the Scheme" once and that was only last week. I found it awful. I would not watch it again.

The thing that struck me about it was that this is not my definition of poverty. These people can help themselves a lot more. They're not all addicts: many are in a mess of their own making. Look at the 16 year old now pregnant to a drug addict. She got a house, she was busy decorating it and was on about getting her new bathroom and kitchen and furniture yet she didn't have two pennies to rub together. Where's the money coming from? The taxpayer. It is time we stopped supporting people like that. Sick people are being hounded off benefits yet this wee madam doesn't care a jot.

On the drink matter, there was always poverty but our consumption of alcohol was a lot lower and it certainly wasn't the norm to be buying booze along with the shopping to take home. People basically couldn't afford to do that. That was the point Salmond made the other day on television. Booze is now cheaper than water basically. There is something seriously wrong when that's the case.

Jo G said...

RMcG, the 20p per can example I gave was from the many offers available in Asda for packs of lager. The deal itself made the cost of each can in the pack 20p.

RMcGeddon said...


Could you give me a link to the 20p offer. I'll stock up at that price.
I've not got an asda shop so went onto their website to try and get a delivery. The cheapest lager was Hollandi at £1.30 a litre equivalent( 4 cans).
Water was priced from 30p a litre to 70p a litre for the quality stuff used by our betters.
I keep hearing about beer being cheaper than water and am continually frustrated at not finding this to be the case.

sources :

beer :

water :

Thanks in anticipation.

RMcGeddon said...

Forgot to say. Assuming the cans you saw were the normal 500ml size that still makes them up to 30% dearer than some of the water available on asda's website. I expect there are water deals in store that would make them even more expensive in comparison.

Jo G said...

RMcG, the offer is my local Asda was leading up to Christmas and lasted right over into the New Year. The beer and lager were being sold in huge packs at ridiculous prices which, yes, made the price of each can 20p. I really can't help it if you don't believe me. The point being made, and the one Salmond made the other day, is that the cost of booze is nothing to people now compared with years ago and the products are now dirt cheap. Think of the price hikes in things like cigarettes in comparison. Look at food prices. How much do you pay now for a quality beef joint yet you can buy a bottle of decent wine (on offer any day of the week in supermarkets)for a third or a quarter of that price. It simply doesn't make sense that the price of booze is being kept down thus encouraging consumption to increase.

RMcGeddon said...


I'll have to declare an interest Jo. I have access to fresh water so don't need to buy bottled water so this whole debate is academic ( this house had water plumbed in when I bought it - I guiltily warm it up and wash in it and even use it to wash the car such is my good fortune). I do buy water abroad though where they aren't able to access fresh water like myself.
Alcohol is a legal product. Supermarkets are entitled to give it away free with cornflakes if they wanted (as long as I look 25 - I just make it I think). Why do people like you always conclude that making things more expensive is the answer to stopping people using them ? You mentioned the price of cigarettes. Has the shocking taxes on them stopped people smoking ? No. It's got to the stage where the govt want to hide them under the counter as people annoyingly keep buying them. Doing without other things to get them. A sandwich or a packet of 10 ciggies ? My brother went for the ciggies every time when he was skint. How is that improving his health ?
Like VAT which was for special luxury items and is now 20% on every product essential for life you will find the alcohol tax will take the same route.
So how high are you gonna go ? The sky's the limit. Don't forget buckie is at £7.30 so is safe for a couple of years.
Here's a solution. Let the market charge what it wants. Let the police carry out the laws they already have. Anyone drunk on the streets can be put in jail until Monday when they go to court. This isn't radical stuff. It was done in the 60's and 70's and worked a treat. No kids vomiting everywhere in the streets. It was great.
Oh and I've been a keen drinker for 30 years and can assure you it's not cheaper today. It's roughly the same taking in wages and inflation.
In 1980 it was 42p a pint in my local. I had a party and made careful costings as I was skint.
It's now £3.20 a pint. The supermarkets then also sold cheap booze and we had regular parties with each person bringing along a slab of beer from the supermarket.
I can guarantee that if we get a minimum price it will make no difference. This will infuriate the worthies ( who of course are unaffected by any alcohol tax - being on a minimum of £63K plus expenses) so they will go higher and higher like a dodgy game show from the distant past.


Jo G said...

RMcG, you seem determined to labour your point but the "people like you" phrase means what exactly? Who exactly are people like me and how can you make such a sweeping judgement based on my views on one issue?

And actually yes, smoking has decreased, not just because of cost but because of the dangers associated with it. Many hardened smokers have been assisted by NRT products to beat their addiction. I wish I could say I was one.

I can recall when smokers were the majority in most social circles. That is absolutely no longer the case. I remember when non-smokers had no issues with people smoking in their homes: that's well gone now too. It is now banned in most public places and in workplaces especially. I once worked in an office where an actual haze lay over the working area all day and non smokers worked in it without complaining. It seems bizarre now that it was tolerated. I personally think smokers were practically demonised eventually but I don't dispute for one minute that my smoke very often ruined the environment of others while having to eat my smoke along with their dinner in restaurants.

There are many ways in which Scotland can deal with our alcohol problems, and we have them, maybe not all of us but alcohol is an issue here. Having booze at dirt cheap prices - as supermarkets do - does not help.

RMcGeddon said...

"Having booze at dirt cheap prices - as supermarkets do - does not help."

I think we've laboured this point. I tried to explain to you that you're talking nonsense but your ears are closed.
When I said 'people like you', I meant people who see the solution to a problem is to make it more expensive.
Poor people spending more and more of their income on booze and cigarettes isn't going to help.
Next up I expect is fatty foods.
We've already got energy prices shooting up for our own good ( renewables scam) so why not make pies dearer ? Heck it will do the poor good.
Fuel duty. Yes that's expensive. Stop all those chavs driving around in their clapped out Mondeos that will.
It's got to a state now where people are bewildered at the ever intrusive state doing what they like. Battering us with more and more taxes and people like you cheerleading for them. It's a collective madness. Please please please tax my alcohol more for my own good.
Certainly dear citizen. It will save us looking at broader issues and give the supermarkets and ourselves more money. Now go back to sleep.

subrosa said...

You're right there Jo, The Scheme is not poverty. I watched one programme on the last series and was appalled how people expect others to take responsibility for them.

Our consumption of alcohol was a lot lower Jo beause we didn't have the money. We realised we needed to save for anything we wanted and not blow it all on a night out.

subrosa said...

RM I agree, let the markets decide and let the police use the law instead of taking drunks to A & E put them in a cell. That worked well but then we started the pampering and now every drunk knows no matter how they behave the good ol' NHS will sort it.

subrosa said...

Jo, do you read Leg Iron and Velvet Fist? They'll both tell you the NRT products don't help because they pump into you the product you're trying to avoid.

Have you tried the e cig? Worth a go.

RMcGeddon said...

Yes Jo seems a bit confused. Equating smoke free environments with dearer cigarettes when it was the smoking ban that was responsible. The smoking ban has been excellent and I agree with it although a side room should have been provided for smokers. I've never smoked but think the present system is persecution of smokers out of spite.
According to a study I read recently smoking is now more popular amongst teenagers than ever before. It's getting cheaper with white van man moving in and selling at half cost. High taxation on cigarettes has had the opposite effect to what was wanted. Uncontrolled tobacco full of extra lead and mercury and other carcinogens at half the price. A similar situation will arise with alcohol. People opting to stay at home and drink and smoke creating the impression of a reduction in smokers and drinkers when the opposite is the case. The drink will be some couterfeit that will have the desired high but will be more dangerous as it will be imported or brewed without license or control.

Jo G said...

"I think we've laboured this point. I tried to explain to you that you're talking nonsense but your ears are closed." really are outrageous. Our views differ, that is all. That doesn't mean you have the right to just announce I'm talking nonsense and you're correct. Furthermore your explanation of your "people like you" comment goes on to attribute views to me that I simply do not hold.

You prophesise about alcohol poisoning. That is happening NOW due to the quantities of alcohol people are throwing down their necks, especially young people.

You are also quite wrong about smoking because the number of smokers has continued to fall as a result of education once the real dangers were known. The statistics are available if you take the trouble to look for them. Higher prices for cigarettes have also driven people to stop because they simply couldn't afford it any more. I know many people who have stopped for that reason and because of the clear health issues. So I'm not confused. The support available now for smokers who want to stop is amazing. Many are accessing it and winning.

Subrosa, you've made the point about people not being able to afford booze back then: given that everything has kept pace in the way of wages and product increases costs isn't it weird that booze is now so cheap? I think there has been a complete change of culture where booze is concerned. I worked with a group that included a number of very young women and on nights out they drank nothing but double vodkas and then shots later. The amount of booze consumed on a night out astonished me and they did this most weekends. Bars running special offers on "doubles only" nights didn't help either.

It is now the norm to have booze in the house. That wasn't the norm when I was young. Dad went for a pint but not to get completely legless and women didn't really go into pubs much at all. There would be drink in the house at Christmas and New Year but not all the time. It is completely different now.

RMcGeddon said...

You refused to accept that water wasn't more expensive than beer. I showed you examples of why you were wrong yet you closed your ears and failed to acknowledge this fact.
You say the number of people smoking is falling yet I've just looked at Cancer Research UK's website and they say smoking numbers are steady at 10 million in the UK with an increase from 20 to 21% in female smokers.
So you're wrong about drink prices and you're wrong about smoking habits and you will probably go off on a tangent clouding the issue with irrelevant facts about smokey offices and such like.
You should focus on the issues and not talk non.....sense.

Jo G said...

RMcG, those current smoking levels you quote have indeed been steady for a few years now yes, but they are also the lowest levels for years.

It was once the case that 51% of men smoked. That is now way down. It has almost halved over a period of some years. There was a similar drop in the stats for women although groups like Cancer Research remain concerned that smoking stats are now stuck around 26% and they are keen to make more progress still to get the figures down further.

The smoking figures today are far better than they were before we really became aware of the dangers of smoking. As we all know it was once presented as a cool thing to do. We then found out there is nothing cool about the habit and that it is dangerous . Smoking levels then started to drop.

That is NOT nonsense. It is a fact and I am not wrong about it. The following link shows how smoking patterns have altered.

On booze, I quoted a specific product which at the time it was on sale - on special offer - meant each can of lager/beer in the pack was costing the purchaser 20p. In the example I gave the alcohol in question was cheaper than water being sold in that store. So I was not wrong about that either. Mr Salmond has clearly seen similar examples as he quoted one just the other day.

Our relationship with alcohol leads to alcohol poisoning casualties in our A&Es every weekend mostly young people. You predicted alcohol poisoning in the future yet is is happening right now. I KNOW because I have a relative who is a Doctor and who spoke in horror about the number of young women arriving in A&E needing immediate attention due to alcohol poisoning.

Minimum pricing could be part of the answer. If these insane supermarket offers are ended, if bars are prevented from indulging in promotions - including hard spirits like vodka - which actively encourage people to drink until they are legless then that is no bad thing.

People will still go out but the same quantities of alcohol may not be consumed because the crazy deals will be gone. But we must deal with those who are actually encouraging people to drink irresponsibly.

As I said earlier, all I'm doing here is expressing a view. We may all disagree at various times but your responses to my views have been immature and downright rude. I'm sure Subrosa welcomes views from all of us equally and there is absolutely no need for the approach you have adopted.

RMcGeddon said...


I'm sorry if you feel I've been rude. I felt we were having a good robust discussion and was enjoying it.
Your example of the 20p can was shown to be dearer than water. I explained that it worked out at 40p a litre which was even dearer than the asda website for online shopping where special inshop discounts for water aren't available.
You said smoking was decreasing but you have now moved the goalposts and said it used to be decreasing a lot but isn't so much recently. Well not at all actually. So despite taxes on cigarettes skyrocketing there's a hardcore who aren't for turning. Yourself included ?
So we're still no further forward. Water still isn't dearer than beer and smoking numbers aren't decreasing.
Lets call it quits and I'll buy you a non habit forming pint or a fruit based drink if you're a lady.

subrosa said...

RM, I don't think Jo's confused in the least. I think she has another view to which she's entitled. :)

That's what's happening here. Youngsters are now buying contraband cigarettes and bottles of who-knows-what from who-know- where. It's only the beginning.

subrosa said...

Hi Jo, aye I think RM kind of contradicted himself with that statement really because I see where you're coming from.

Jo, see my reply to RM about youngsters now buying suspect alcohol and tobacco. This is only beginning here and if prices increase it will get worse.

If we could get to the bottom of why so many feel the need to get drunk then we could resolve the issue.

I certainly agree the supermarkets should stop the BOGOFs and bars shouldn't be running 'specials' either.

There's always booze in this house and yes, there wasn't in my childhood home because it was too expensive - although I think there was always a bottle of Bristol Cream and a bottle of Bells or Teachers.

subrosa said...

Jo, I suggest you try an ecigarette and buy the non-nicotine capsules for it. Ask underdogs bite upwards the best one to buy, he's an expert. I quite like mine and it's halved my smoking. It's also quite a talking piece when I'm out. They're far less harmful than cigarettes. Of course doctors don't officially recommend them because they have to support the big pharma which continues to peddle nicotine products.

RMcGeddon said...

You've just reinforced what I was saying. People are turning to contraband tobacco and alcohol as people like Jo ask for more taxes.
These cigarettes are totally unregulated and contain sawdust and any stoor off of the floor in the flat where the tobacco is packaged.
The same will happen with alcohol when Jo gets her wish and poor people can no longer afford to buy regulated alcohol due to higher taxes. Blindness and other ailments are guaranteed as people buy from local dealers.
Are you sure you want to direct Jo towards leggy ?
Jo thinks nicotine is an addiction. Leggy has writen ad nauseum for years that it's not. And once Jo tells leggy she wants to increase duty on alcohol aswell then she'll be mincemeat.

subrosa said...

RM, Jo will cope with what LI says, I promise. In fact, if she smokes and wants to stop then his philosophy will do her good. :)

I'll give her one bit of advice though - don't mention more tax on alcohol to him. :)

Jo G said...

RMcG, there you go again, saying things I did NOT say.

I said, rightly, that smoking levels had dropped steadily since we became aware of the dangers. That is absolutely true. I even gave you a link to national statistics to prove it.

I pointed out there had been a huge learning curve about smoking which led to many giving up.

Nicotine is one of the most powerfully addictive drugs ever. I'm currently reading Allen Carr's book on stopping smoking. He managed to beat it and helped many others to do so too may he rest in peace.

On the e-cigarettes Subrosa the Docs I spoke to are relatives who had read, as I did, of the downside to those. Seems there is a downside to everything.

Anyway, my views are my views. Its a shame RMcG that you're still misquoting them all over the place and utterly misunderstanding what I'm saying.

Minimum pricing is not the whole answer but it would help to get rid of the people, in supermarkets and in various bars and clubs, who are actively encouraging people, especially young people, to consume as much alcohol as they can within a few hours because its dirt cheap. It is also highly dangerous but they don't say that do they? So for me it is not about "taxes" it is about responsible pricing.

RMcGeddon said...

Heck I even offered to buy you a pint to make up for my rudeness and you go off on one again.
The 'experts' said that nicotine was more addictive than heroin so how can making cigarettes dearer help to curb smoking ? Heroin addicts don't say ' I'm gonna knock this heroin addiction on the head as it's just getting too expensive'. No, they just steal more and degrade themselves more to get the money. This will happen with alcohol. Drunks don't stop because alcohol gets dearer. They just steal more and do whatever is required to get the booze. Going without food if needs be.
But we are where we are.
The SNP have a majority so the alcohol legislation will go through.
Local shops, pubs, clubs and individuals will source their alcohol from over the border creating a flourishing market like in Calais. Special offers will be advertised in the national press at the new alcohol warehouses in Carlisle etc.
White van man will drive around schemes selling alcohol to kids direct. Hotlines will be set up to deliver straight to people's houses. As the minimum price creeps up the profits to be made will increase proportionally. Off licences in Scotland will fold due to the competition. Like cigarettes the majority of alcohol sold on the streets will be counterfeit.
Meanwhile in Europe, Scotland will spend time in court cases as it defends itself against charges of breaking the EU free trade treaties. Being an EU loving party it will back off and do a face saving about turn and scrap the legislation. In the meantime mafia gangs will have wrecked our schemes with kids hooked on other highs apart from alcohol.
And I bet you a pint this scenario will happen.

Jo G said...


"If we could get to the bottom of why so many feel the need to get drunk then we could resolve the issue."

"There's always booze in this house and yes, there wasn't in my childhood home because it was too expensive."

I think those two statements connect brilliantly and also provide the answer.

It was the same in my own home when growing up. But apart from the expense part it also wasn't generally the thing to have booze in the house anyway. When people came to visit the men went for a pint and the women stayed at home and blethered over cups of tea and biscuits. My mum and dad went out to dances now and then but I rarely remember mum going with him to the pub. There is now more concern about the amounts of alcohol being consumed particularly by women.

But the expense connection you made is relevant because now booze is dirt cheap, not from dodgey sources, but from supermarkets and pubs doing promotions. Truly the price of alcohol has dropped in relation to everything else. I find that bizarre. I'm trying to find a report I saw referred to the other day of a study done which proved that booze is cheaper now than it was in the 1980s.

Jo G said...

RMcG, if you want to engage try and treat my contributions as simply that and don't describe them as me "going off on one".

Its red wine here thanks, but a quality red, none of that cheap rubbish. : )

RMcGeddon said...

I've got a lovely Shiraz here that would be perfect for you. It's been on special offer at my local co op. Booze is cheap as chips these days.
Not as cheap as water though ;)

Jo G said...


"The 'experts' said that nicotine was more addictive than heroin so how can making cigarettes dearer help to curb smoking."

We're on two different subjects here and that's why I've pasted that particular comment because I think I've been misunderstood.

As a smoker myself I have long resented that while governments scolded that I was "costing the NHS a fortune" the likes of me were keeping the NHS going by contributing 85% of every packet of fags to the treasury. There was evidence at one time that if every smoker packed it in they would need to add at least 5p to the basic income tax rate to recoup their losses. In the old days they'd put 2p on a packet of fags at the budget, then it was 4p then it was 10p. The last one was 20p. Real problem cases like me are still enslaved to nicotine but I am determined now to beat it because RMcG I am sick of my habit dominating my life and my finances.

I am glad however that I know so many people who took on board the dangers and beat cigarettes, and nicotine. That gives me hope. My own parents were in that number and they both were non smokers for nearly ten years. They didn't stop, and many others didn't either, because of costs: the reasons were the emerging evidence of the serious health dangers.

I think the experts are right that nicotine is addictive because I know it is true and its why every battle with it, for me, so far has been lost.

I also think it is wrong to compare the ordinary current drinker with a nicotine addict or an alcoholic. The average drinker isn't an alcoholic or addicted to a substance like nicotine. They won't feel the pain of drinking less in clubs and pubs: they may just curb it and see how much more enjoyable nights out are without being unable to walk at the end of them.

Our attitude to booze has to change. I keep saying that minimum pricing isn't the whole answer because it isn't. But I will keep saying that booze prices now are curiously low in comparison with years ago and that is difficult to fathom.

Jo G said...

Oddly enough my worst times for smoking are when I'm on the computer!

Jo G said...

On a light note in the link above the spokesman for Alcohol Concern was quoted. His name? Mr Sodden.

I never like quoting the Daily Mail however this article is about findings within the medical profession on liver-related disease normally found in much older people which is now showing up in people in their 30s. It also stresses the increased dangers alcohol presents for women because we aren't able to cope with levels of alcohol men can deal with yet we're giving it our best shot (pardon the pun). It also rightly says that minimum prices are not the whole answer but makes the point that dirt cheap booze is definitely a significant factor in encouraging us to drink more.

subrosa said...

Jo, I meant to delete the bit about no booze in my childhood home as there was always sherry and whisky. That didn't turn my parents into alcoholics (although my mother liked a bucketful now and again). My father, owing to his work, seldom touched the stuff and preferred a pint down the pub with friends.

Women didn't go to pubs in those days and I certainly wouldn't go to any of my local pubs. They're dives. We're behind the times here.

I see RM's view too though because I know youngsters who already buy 'vodka' from a source which isn't a recognised retail outlet. This will increase when retail prices increase and there will always be the blackmarket which will be able to provide cheaper. Same with tobacco. I could buy my cigarettes much cheaper but I'm sceptical about the source.

Remember beer wasn't expensive when we were young, it was only the middle-upper range of drinks. Wine wasn't drunk much in this country then and folk who liked wine made it themselves. My grandmother made bathfulls of elderberry, parsnip and rhubarb wine and any other fruit she could lay her hands on. There was always the lovely smell of processing because the vats sat beside the range. She gave most of it away as gifts but she also had one whole side of her larder stocked with the stuff.

I preferred the parsnip. :)

I don't think increasing the price will make a blind bit of difference to youngsters who are hell bent on getting drunk. Let's not forget, many have quite a few drinks before they even reach the streets. We occasionally used to share a half bottle of gin before we went dancing. That was between around 10 of us. The measure was the cap. The boys would do the same with whisky.

It's all about priorities and today's youngsters think that a drunken night out is more important than saving towards their future. There were no credit cards in our day so we had to save for the new dress or record or whatever.

subrosa said...

RM, you cheapskate. Jo deserves at least a bottle of something special.

Thinking about it, I'll forego wine and just have a bottle of Allure. :)

RMcGeddon said...

leg iron would argue that nicotine isn't an addiction. You've been programmed to think it is. I think it's an addiction but many don't.
I could give you links that would counter your links about drinking but we'd end up swapping links back and forwards. Sweden has amongst the highest alcohol prices in the world yet there has been no reduction in binge drinking. Poland has about the lowest alcohol prices in the world yet there's never any trouble as the police carry out the powers that they've been given.
The increase in liver deaths in the UK was attributed to the extra 3 million Eastern Europeans who have settled in the UK since the open borders policy was adopted. These are hardened vodka drinkers who have a history of early death through alcohol abuse. Much the same as the massive increase in heart failure in the population due to the immigrants from Asia. And the massive increase in TB due to the immigrants from Africa. The demographics of the UK have changed so rapidly in the last 20 years that any studies that look at historical trends in deaths are meaningless.
You will have to stop smoking though before I take you for that drink. I'm a boring anti smoker and hate the smell of it. It gets everywhere.

RMcGeddon said...

Heck SR I'm not made of money ;)

Thinking about this minimum pricing policy for alcohol do you not think it's like putting a sticking plaster onto a decapitated head ?
The collapse in society and family values via Blair and Harperson etc has made the problem too big to fix.

Jo G said...

RMcG I'm not buying the immigrants thing. We can't blame them for things we know ordinary Scots are doing in relation to alcohol and the quantities being consumed regularly. (Although you're right about the TB matter.)

RMcGeddon said...

There is evidence that some immigrants from Eastern Europe are raising the figures for alcohol abuse..

Although I accept that we need to get back to basics in Scotland and encourage the family and roll back the break up of the family unit via Blairs social engineering. Tinkering with alcohol pricing is a cop out.

Jo G said...

RMcG, every community in Scotland and throughout the UK is seeing disturbing problems through alcohol abuse. These are Scottish born, English born, Welsh born people not immigrants. We shouldn't play this down.

On rolling back the break up of the family unit RMcG I'm not sure we can. I think its gone too far. I think it started pre-Blair as well, honestly. I know of families who are into the third generation of no fathers in sight. I don't mean cases where marriages broke down: I mean where there was never a father around to begin with. It has become a culture in some places. That's a debate on its own. Maybe Subrosa will arrange that. I'm sure it would be interesting.

No point in us continuing to disagree over the pricing thing. I think tho that its established that while every other commodity has increased in price over the decades alcohol is definitely now cheaper than it was twenty years ago and I think that's bizarre.

subrosa said...

The two of you, Jo and RM are quite right here. RM says it's down to family values and you Jo say we're past that - which is exceptionally sad but perhaps true.

If you'd like a debate about it email me with something and I'll post it, in your name, as a guest post. Could be a very interesting one indeed.

Why not do a joint one along the lines of pros and cons? Maybe I'm overstepping the realms of reality. :)

Jo G said...

I'm up for that Subrosa, I'll see what I can put together. Not sure what Heid the Ba' would make of a joint effort or how we would work that but I'll have a think.

sizzy said...

As far as I can remember, Alex Salmond stated that he wanted to tax low quality - high strength drinks.

subrosa said...

Auch I'm sure Heid the Ba' would give it his best shot Jo.

You listening RM?

subrosa said...

That's true sizzy but there's lots of protest about singling out these drinks. Some say the EU will have something to say.

We'll just have to wait and see, but when it comes on the statute book, supermarkets will increase the price of all alcohol I bet.

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