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Soapbox: Happy hours

Posted on February 07, 2015 by

So, an experiment. Here on Wings we don’t tend to deal very much in specific political issues, other than independence. We’re not aligned to any party, and our primary goal is to see Scotland become a national democracy in which all voices can be heard. We happen to be on the left of the political spectrum, but that’s neither here nor there while Scotland’s politics are at the mercy of the whims of voters elsewhere.

But just for a change of pace at the weekends, when there tends not to be much happening, we thought we might try having a space where broader ideas can be debated outwith the framework of the constitutional debate or party politics. If there’s something you’d like to talk about in front of a sizeable audience, drop us a line.

soapbox1

To give you an idea of what we mean, we’re going to start off by outlining a personal pet idea we’ve had for years, and which is an attempt to tackle one of Scotland’s most toxic problems – alcohol abuse. It’s a simple concept, it’s cheap to implement, it doesn’t punish the innocent and it seems like it’d work. See what you think.

For once we won’t trouble you with a torrent of stats. Everyone knows Scotland has an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, and has done more or less forever. But what to do? You can make it more expensive, but that only affects poor people. You can blanket the country in CCTV cameras, but that’s costly, labour-intensive and it only treats the symptoms, not the cause.

We’ve got a much better idea: the drinking licence.

drinklicence

Booze kills vastly more people in Scotland every year than cars do, and we don’t let people get behind the wheel of a car if they can’t handle it, so why should a bottle of nasty cheap cider be any different?

Now, hear us out. We’re not suggesting a test, nor a card you have to carry around and show at the bar before the publican will pull you a pint. A drinking licence would be a purely notional thing, and everyone of the required age would have it by default.

But the problem with alcohol is that SOME people can’t be trusted with it and some can. Some people can get off their face a thousand times and never cause anyone any problems beyond a bit of off-key karaoke or slightly excessive hugging, whereas a couple of vodkas turn others into monsters.

(There are often wider social causes determining which of those groups someone is in, which obviously need to be dealt with too, but it seems a worthwhile thing in its own right to make the streets safe while we’re doing it.)

And the thing about all the current approaches is that they punish the good people as well as the dickheads. Some wee old pensioner who never hurt anyone in his life, living alone on a poverty income, might cherish the wee nip of cheap supermarket whisky he allows himself on a Friday night or a hot toddy for the cold, only to find one of his few pleasures taken out of reach by minimum pricing because of the actions of some scumbag neds. Decent football fans have for decades been paying the price for pissed-up Old Firm thuggery while others enjoy a beer at their social events.

The drinking licence solves that because it focuses on the troublemakers, not the innocent. Here’s how it works. Everyone who’s old enough is allowed to drink without any legal restriction, just as now. But if you commit a crime while tanked-up, courts would have the ability to withdraw that right for a set period, instead of or in addition to any other penalty.

(You could have a points system like driving, or simply a yes/no status.)

If you lose your drinking licence, nobody would try to monitor you. BUT, if anyone saw you drinking alcohol, they could call the police, and if they came round and found that you’d been imbibing you’d be immediately arrested and subjected to whatever sanctions the law decreed – fines, community punishments, and finally imprisonment for severe or repeat offences.

But more to the point, if you got arrested for any other crime, then as soon as you were picked up your records would show that you were barred from drinking, and you’d be automatically breathalysed. If any trace of alcohol was found in your system, extra penalties would apply over and above any that were imposed for the original crime, and even if you were found innocent of that you’d still suffer the penalties for breaking the drink ban.

(The additional sanctions would also increase according to the severity of the crime – if you were nicked for littering or something and turned out to have been drinking, you’d get fined £50 on top of the littering rap. If you beat someone up in a taxi queue while you were hammered without a licence, you’d get an extra three years or whatever on top of the standard sentence.)

The advantages are obvious:

1. Cost of implementation is almost nothing, and very little extra paperwork is required. Your ability – or not – to have a drink is just another line on your existing records, and only has to be checked if you’ve come to the attention of the police anyway. (And alcohol is quick and easy to detect.)

2. The innocent don’t suffer. Prices don’t go up, and you don’t have to impose all manner of restrictions on drinking in public places or cut back pub hours, because the problem consumers are taken out of the equation quickly.

3. People who know they’re likely to behave anti-socially when under the influence have a much stronger disincentive to drink, because even if they just get a little rowdy, they’ll draw attention to themselves and find themselves with increasingly hefty sentences.

(Police would have the power to breathalyse on the spot on any reasonable grounds, just like they can now with drivers.)

4. People in the community will know when someone’s been banned. A quiet call from their mobile when a banned drinker takes his first slug of lager will be able to stop trouble before it starts.

5. You won’t get lots more people stuck with criminal records for a bit of harmless teenage boisterousness, because the licence will initially only be able to be withdrawn if you’re convicted of another crime. (After that, breaking the ban will be an offence in its own right.)

6. It’s flexible. Judges would have the discretion to decide whether alcohol had been a factor in the crime and therefore whether or not to include a drinking ban in the sentence. The length of the ban could be anything from a few weeks to life, as circumstances dictated.

7. It’s not an infringement of civil liberties. Everyone gets to drink unless they do something to prove that they shouldn’t. We stop people from doing other stuff if they abuse it – driving, owning firearms, even keeping pets – so why not booze?

We don’t see any downsides. What do you think, readers?

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    1. 07 02 15 13:47

      Happy hours - Speymouth

    370 to “Soapbox: Happy hours”

    1. Iain Morrison says:

      surprisingly good idea can’t see any problems,wonder if Jim Murphy will pinch it?

    2. Grendel says:

      I agree 100%. I’ve been saying the same thing for years. People commit drunk driving, or assaults with very drunk, yet no one seems to see the blatanly obvious answer which is to remove that individuals right to get tanked up!

    3. Joemcg says:

      I know it’s a right wing policy but my bug bear is people who have not worked for a lengthy time or even people who have never worked and seem to have chosen this as as their life,keeping getting hand outs every fortnight.Can they not do something for the community not forced full time work just even a few hours like litter picks, graffiti cleaning or even giving our lonely elderly people who are in their thousands a wee visit from time to time. It does really annoy me this issue.

    4. bookie from hell says:

      English Sun calls SNP hideous

    5. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “surprisingly good idea”

      WHAT THE HELL DO YOU MEAN BY “SURPRISINGLY”?

      😉

    6. Michelle says:

      if you take the point of view that alcoholism is an illness would this not be criminalising illness?

    7. Alan Mackintosh says:

      Yep, I can’t see the downside of that as you’ve laid it out. No doubt there would be lots of bleating though…

    8. faolie says:

      Nice one Rev, but it doesn’t address drink-related disease and therefore massive NHS bills from those non-ned drinkers. That’s why I support(ed) minimum pricing

    9. bighairyandy says:

      Isn’t withdrawal of the freedom to drink already technically possible under ASBO legislation?

    10. Murray McCallum says:

      No doubts about the issue and extent of alcohol abuse and associated violence (often behind closed doors).

      A flaw in the proposal is the possibility of the drunkard always being labelled “guilty” and suffering the loss of their drinking license.

      I’m thinking of the situation where a drunk reacts to extreme provocation and causes a disturbance of the peace, or hits someone. A sober person may have had the exact same reaction.

      It may be argued that this is acceptable, i.e. the drunk being punished AND losing their drinking license. However, a sober person would not suffer the withdrawal of their drinking license and future freedoms.

      The law may therefore be seen to be unfair.

    11. Vambomrbeleye says:

      Sounds like a plan.

    12. grim says:

      It’s not a bad idea and the first I’ve heard of it. One point is that bit all alcohol is alike in its effect. For instance I know someone who is a total pain on gin but other drinks are OK.

      Maybe if we add on some awareness counciling to help offenders avoid problem drinks then that would improve the proposal.

      I’ve been quite impressed with the Swiss system – 16 year olds can drink beer and wine but not spirits. That ensures that they develop adult tastes rather than alcopops.

    13. Sandy says:

      Great idea for stopping anti-social drinking and reducing alcohol related crime. Doesn’t do as much to reduce drink related health problems and associated costs though – that’s if you see it as governments role to influence our health choices, I suppose.

    14. *Insert name* says:

      Almost impossible to enforce and it doesn’t actually deal with the public health issues around drinking, only the criminal ones. But apart from that it is great.

    15. John Sellars says:

      Essentially excellent. The SNP are calling for policy suggestions – email even from non-members. Definitely worth chucking this one in.

    16. Alan Mackintosh says:

      Oh aye and particularly like Container Type C…

    17. yerkitbreeks says:

      Mmmnnn – I look at bits of the world where there is no drinking, and all I seem to see on the TV is bearded young men on the back of pickups firing kalashnikovs into the air, a distinct lack of females, and rumours on what goes on behind closed doors.

      People, especially young males, need to let off steam and if they’re not prepared to take up rugby or rock climbing, maybe we should look for other models. I gather in Sweden alcohol is a social no no during the week, but on Saturday nights they all get mashed.

      At least that would reduce it to one day a week.

    18. Mosstrooper says:

      How about if you’re ugly and drunk? Should there be extra points on your licence?

    19. Patricia Gray says:

      Anything that encourages people to call the police and report one another attacks working class solidarity and is a bad idea. The police often cause more problems than they fix. People who are overly attracted to alcohol or who become violent etc., et., probably have psychiatric or emotional problems and should be treated with respect and not locked in a cell or given a criminal record which will make preexisting difficulties even worse. Parents should never be allowed to drink alcohol while they are in charge of any child under sixteen, whether at home or in a pub. Or, there should be a limit on how much parents can drink while in charge of children. Children learn their drinking habits from their parents, or they possibly drink too much because of how they have been brought up……..

    20. John Sellars says:

      Essentially excellent. The SNP are calling for policy suggestions – even from non-members. Definitely worth chucking this one in.

    21. donald says:

      Interesting idea.

      The one thing about it which immediately springs to mind is that you’re effectively criminalising addiction, punishing alcoholics that fall off the wagon rather than helping them.

    22. dennis mclaughlin says:

      What about “a war against” alcohol…?.

    23. Andrew says:

      Interesting. A few things come to mind :

      1 – If this were implemented on a “blank sheet” country fine, but how would this affect existing anti-social alcoholics who would be (by definition) incapable of respecting this law? Would there be anything put in place to “cure” them or would they just be penalised for their “illness”?
      2 – How would this help non anti-social alcoholics? “Nae bother, as long as ye dinae cause any bother ye can jist drink yersel tae death”
      3 – As regards phoning the police when you see a banned drinker drinking, do you think they would have the manpower to follow up every phone call?

    24. Jane Russell says:

      i like this idea, particularly giving discretion to judges, which answers Murray McCallum’s quibble.

    25. Grendel says:

      @Faoilie, I support minimum pricing too. There is no isolated onse size fits all answer, and a ban from consuming booze for troubled individuals would be a reasonable measure as part of the fight.

    26. manandboy says:

      There is a lot in what you say Stu, and you seem to have given it much thought.
      Go for it! You get my vote.

      Ps. Under age drinking just gets bigger and bigger as the culture gets younger and younger. Your thoughts?

    27. David S. Briggs says:

      Incarceration costs a lot of money. Unless this isn’t part of ‘implementation’.

      Also it all sounds a bit Fascist having people spying on each other.

      Sorry thumbs down.

    28. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “People, especially young males, need to let off steam and if they’re not prepared to take up rugby or rock climbing, maybe we should look for other models.”

      Most people manage to have a few drinks, even get plastered, and let off steam without glassing anyone. The whole point of this measure is that you only get penalised if your drunk personality is a dangerous one. People who get whammed without becoming arseholes get left alone.

    29. Stephen says:

      £800m is spent each year on alcohol marketing in the UK with £550m of that

      “on football sponsorship, promotions, music festivals and online marketing and promotions”

      http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmselect/cmhealth/132/132vw09.htm

      Until this elephant-in-the-room is addressed and the drinks lobby’s influence over decision makers is diminished then every other solution is just, erm, pi5hing in the wind.

    30. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “I’m thinking of the situation where a drunk reacts to extreme provocation and causes a disturbance of the peace, or hits someone.”

      As I say, the judge has the discretion to decide whether the drink has aggravated the person’s action or whether it was just a coincidence. He can penalise the reaction – because it tends to be a crime to lamp someone no matter how much they’ve provoked you – without also imposing a drinking ban if he thinks a sober person would have done the same thing.

    31. Croompenstein says:

      Solid enough idea Stu, there was bleating about the smoking ban with folk saying it willnae happen here or it willnae work now it’s hard to imagine the smoke filled bars and clubs and how we accepted it for so long.

      Also with recycling there was major bleating, I’ve nae room for all these bins, I’m not daein it etc.

      I think it’s a good idea Stu..

    32. H says:

      @rev Stu, I don’t think you can take the alcohol problem in Scotland without addressing, diet, life style, eduction and mental wealth as these go hand in hand, just like the Scottish governments answer to poverty is to proved free meals to primary 1-3, without making sure the food provide is going to actually deliver the nutrients the children require. might as well piss against the wind if the whole picture isn’t going to be looked at, IMHO

    33. heraldnomore says:

      Breaking. Andrew Marr to discuss proposals for a Drinking License with Jim Murphy on Sunday Politics.

    34. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “I don’t think you can take the alcohol problem in Scotland without addressing, diet, life style, eduction and mental wealth as these go hand in hand”

      Is there any chance people could READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE before commenting?

      “(There are often wider social causes determining which of those groups someone is in, which obviously need to be dealt with too, but it seems a worthwhile thing in its own right to make the streets safe while we’re doing it.)”

    35. Croompenstein says:

      Would they put the union jack or the EU flag on our licenses? 🙂

    36. Geoff Huijer says:

      It’s an honourable attempt to try to solve a complicated problem however it doesn’t recognise the fact that some people become addicted to alcohol (alcoholics) and have lost the power of choice. It may well help some that are on the way to addiction but would punish those that already are.

      https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/where-science-meets-the-steps/201305/5-myths-about-addiction-undermine-recovery

      It seems to me that there needs to be more education about the effects of alcohol and that recovery can be an option. Alcoholism itself, in this country, is treated like it is something to be ashamed of which deters some people from trying to do anything about it. In the USA receovering/recoverd alcoholics are treated with a kind of respect (in that they have managed to ‘defeat’ their addiction).

      Also the UK is one of the few countries on the planet that doesn’t class alcoholism aa a disease; USA medical association does, as does the WHO.

      Most GPs whilst training here get days of ‘drug addiction’ learning whilst alcohol addiction is virtuallly ignored. When I moved back to Scotland & the nurse at the Doctor’s surgery asked me if I was allergic to anything. She was stunned when I said ‘alcohol’ & pointed out I was an alcoholic; she never knew there was such a thing as a ‘sober’, non-drinking alcoholic.

      http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs349/en/

      Some ‘treatments centres’ work along the ‘just monitor’ or ‘just say no’ principles which can work for some people but the functioning alcoholic has gone beyond that; he/she will lie, cheat, deny & seemingly do anything to continue to feed the addiction.

      Education has to be one of the main keys so that people can understand what can happen but also that recovery is possible if the addict takes the responsibility to try.

    37. Here’s one drinking licence that should’ve been removed years ago, perhaps after he assaulted that copper:

      http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/02/05/ban-opinion-polls-during-election-campaign-says-labour-peer_n_6622300.html

    38. Simon K Findlay says:

      something along the lines of http://goo.gl/61X2Zw perhaps?

    39. Luigi says:

      Interesting idea. IMO it could work, but only if very harsh punishments were handed out to people who break the “licence” rules. I also think punishments for various drunken behaviours (particularly when violence is involved) should also be a lot more severe.

    40. Robert Whyte says:

      Too softly softly for me. Intoxicated in public = 1 week in jail. Drink driving = 10 years in jail etc.

    41. Swami Bacverandah says:

      “The whole point of this measure is that you only get penalised if your drunk personality is a dangerous one. People who get whammed without becoming arseholes get left alone.”

      You need to extend it to include lawmakers who spend so much time pissing up at the Parliamentary Bar, who then, on hearing the bell, not only vote for punitive measures to be enacted on others, but as a result of cosy grog-fuelled fireside chats, collude with criminals in the many and varied means by which to defraud the average Josepines of their hard-earned. They’re dangerous on an industrial scale.

    42. Geoff Huijer says:

      I should have said, however, that I agree with the principle that if society/family is impacted through mental or physical violence/trouble through alcohol abuse then something NEEDS to be done.

      Just as there are people who smoke a spliff at home or take other drugs and don’t go out smashing the place up and still manage to live a ‘normal’, non-anti-social life most drinkers (and even heavy drinkers) don’t cause trouble in the streets.

    43. Grouse Beater says:

      I’ll drink to that! (Sorry, that just slipped out.) 🙂

      (I certainly think those drunk and disorderly should, if employed, pay the cost of their arrest, overnight in a cell, appearance in court, and repair of any material damage.)

    44. G. P. Walrus says:

      I’d like to see high speed rail links between the major scottish cities: Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness.

      A French TGV travels comfortably at 300kph. That’s nigh on 190mph. None of these cities would be more than 1 hour from each other. You could live anywhere and work anywhere, with dramatic effects on wealth and employment distribution, not to mention tourism.

      What would it cost? A lot, but we are not talking about spending money for no return. This is an investment that will create and sustain large engineering for many years and leave a lasting highly valuable infrastructure asset with ongoing returns.

      Public ownership of the rail network would be a first step to this, which IMHO would have a whole other set of benefits.

    45. Effijy says:

      Very Interesting concept.
      I’d like to hear if the AA feel that it would offer any additional support to their members still new to the fight and struggling.

      I’m sure that many very simple and beneficial ideas will be developed on this site. How comforting to know you are dealing with people who really care about people and not just saying the buzz words to trick you out of your vote.

    46. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “The one thing about it which immediately springs to mind is that you’re effectively criminalising addiction, punishing alcoholics that fall off the wagon rather than helping them.”

      It’s not a measure aimed at ending addiction. Its purpose is something else. But it could help reduce the problem by reducing availability and opportunity, and I believe judges can impose sentences now which include treatment.

    47. Grant says:

      Great, but why only alcohol? How about a license for all drugs, irrespective of current legal status?
      It gets revoked if you’re dealing to kids or housebreaking etc.
      David Nutt’s (Government Scientist Alan Johnson sacked for telling the truth) studies into actual harm put alcohol way ahead of illegal drugs.

    48. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “As regards phoning the police when you see a banned drinker drinking, do you think they would have the manpower to follow up every phone call?”

      Well, perhaps, if they’re spending less time dealing with more serious alcohol-related crime because the measure has reduced it. But the point is more that they could follow up ANY call, rather than EVERY one. You’d be running the risk every time you had a drink in public.

    49. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Almost impossible to enforce and it doesn’t actually deal with the public health issues around drinking, only the criminal ones. But apart from that it is great.”

      Sigh. It’s not impossible to enforce at all. What part is difficult? And if we can only solve one of two problems, your attitude appears to be that it’s better to solve neither. Terrific. You’re quite the asset to society, aren’t you?

    50. Alex Smith says:

      Good idea, Stu – can’t wait to see “People who get whammed without becoming arseholes get left alone” on the statute books!

    51. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Anything that encourages people to call the police and report one another attacks working class solidarity and is a bad idea.”

      Oh, fuck off. I’m working class, and getting beaten up by some drunk arsehole who’s also working class doesn’t make me feel any class solidarity. Step 1 in solidarity is stopping knocking lumps out of each other.

    52. Suzyq22 says:

      Really interesting, yet simple, idea Stu. But could you stop going on about the old firm please. A middle aged woman like me has no interest in football. But, over the past couple of decades, I’ve attended dozens of football matches with my best friend (a Hibs fan) and various boyfriends who mainly supported Rangers or Celtic. By far, the worst behaviour I ever saw, was at a Rangers v Aberdeen match. Some of the Aberdeen fans behaviour was shockingly bad and, in all honesty, it’s the only time I’ve ever been scared at a football match. There are morons at every football match so stop focussing on just the Glasgow teams please.

    53. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Incarceration costs a lot of money.”

      Hence stopping the problem at source, rather than cleaning up the mess afterwards.

    54. CRAIGthePICT says:

      It’s a problem that needs a radical solution and the idea is sound. I think it may result in quite a large number of people heading for prison and the feasibility of implementation may be hampered by affordability.

      There is a strong argument though, that linked savings made elsewhere (policing, NHS etc) could finance the prison service to cope. Forced change is overdue in this area which is a societal scourge.

    55. liz g says:

      While not pretending to have a solution
      Can’t see how giving more power to the state to fine and control while also making it socially acceptable to report someone does anything other than expand a big brother state.

      This could even have the potential to allow police into you’re home to find out if you are supplying “hospitality” to an unapproved person.
      Then go on a revenue raising fishing trip like they do with car passengers currently.
      A “surprisingly” bad idear because of all the unintended consequences, none of which favour the citizens over the state.

    56. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “What about “a war against” alcohol…?.”

      It’s not a war against alcohol. That’s the point. For most people alcohol is a harmless, even beneficial thing. This measure leaves those people alone and tackles the twats who ruin it for everyone.

      Some people can handle drink and some can’t. Some people are happy drunks and some are brutal violent drunks. There may well be wider social reasons for that and the piece EXPLICITLY says those should be addressed, but in the here and now it’s too late for those latter people, and all we can hope to do is manage and minimise the consequences. If drink is what sets your inner arsehole loose, no drink for you.

    57. Dr Jim says:

      Does breach of the rules not lead to private litigation for wrongdoers if their offence is against the person, if that were the case then what’s next? Fags,Dog fouling in the garden, no lights on the pram at night?
      I’m not convinced, it all sounds a bit American to me, three strikes and you’re in the Pokey for what may have been minor transgressions

    58. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Can’t see how giving more power to the state to fine and control while also making it socially acceptable to report someone does anything other than expand a big brother state.”

      We live in a Big Brother state now because alcohol-related violence is an excuse for more routine surveillance on the streets, as the article points out. Cut the violence and that excuse becomes less valid.

      Is it “socially acceptable” to report other crimes? Would you walk past someone being raped or someone breaking into a house? If not, what’s your cutoff point? Which crimes don’t you bother reporting?

    59. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “There are morons at every football match so stop focussing on just the Glasgow teams please.”

      The point here is that the alcohol ban at football was a direct and specific result of violence at an Old Firm game, the 1980 Scottish Cup final.

    60. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “It’s a problem that needs a radical solution and the idea is sound. I think it may result in quite a large number of people heading for prison and the feasibility of implementation may be hampered by affordability.”

      Affordability of what? Where are the additional costs? Prison is a last resort for severe and repeat offenders, and the sort of people who’d severely and repeatedly break this law are the sort who’re probably going to end up in jail anyway.

    61. FairiefromEarth says:

      and i know many drunks that use verbal abuse not violance as their beatup.

    62. Callum says:

      Those working in Qatar in the 90’s actually had to have a drink licence. You had to drive to an outpost (that looked like the foreign legion cartoons) to pick up the booze and take it home directly. The thought of 50 lashes kept most people in check but the whole system was abused.

      appreciate that the Rev’s idea is the reverse (an anti-licence) which is a cute but totally unworkable idea. Stick to the day job! 🙂

    63. Nellybaws says:

      The two main issues behind alcohol abuse are cost and availability. Both of these are really in relation to “off licence” sales, I will pay £3.00 for my bottle of lager in a pub but the very same bottle could cost me as little as 50p in my local supermarket.

      So actually I’d prefer to see the implementation of minimum alcohol pricing, as I understand it this would not really affect your pensioner buying his or her bottle of whisky, but could mean less front loading of cheap booze prior to hitting the nightclubs, then each other and ending up in A&E.

      I also think we need a complete overhaul of the off licence trade, it is crazy that we allow every wee shop, petrol station and supermarket to sell booze at knock down prices at almost any time of the day and night. Maybe we should allow only pubs and dedicated strongly regulated off licences to sell booze, these premises rely on their licence to make a living and are more likely to stick to the rules.

      As for these ideas hitting the poor, then surely the real problem isn’t the cost of the drink but the shitty little wages, benefits and pensions that make the people poor in the first place. Also would it be so bad if we all drank less, I still enjoy a beer but I’m no longer the massive pisshead that I was from 16-49 and I’m very happy with that.

    64. Callum says:

      a bottle of single malt was cheaper in Qatar than Scotland because it was not taxed!

    65. Les Wilson says:

      I agree with the sentiment that something needs to be done, to stop the carnage every weekend, something like this is a good idea.
      However, I imagine there would be big opposition, valid or not, against it. Nevertheless it would bring out a good discussion that needs, to air the problems logically.

      If the public warmed to the idea, it would stand a chance of making people more cautious, which would be good.

      There as issues though, what about a drunk who is picked on or even assaulted, what if he fights back and wins, does that make him the loser?
      ( I have seen it happen, caused by people who like to take liberty’s ) So things like this would complicate the idea, but maybe it can somehow be dealt with?

    66. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “I’m not convinced, it all sounds a bit American to me, three strikes and you’re in the Pokey for what may have been minor transgressions”

      Does nobody read the words? It’d be nothing like that. I point out that one of the core points is its flexibility – you can impose bans for short periods or long. You can start with just a ban, then a ban and a fine, then a bigger fine, then community service, then longer community service, and so on.

      Prison would be a last resort, and perhaps not a possibility just for breaking the ban. You’d probably have to do something else WHILE under the influence to get jail – outside of that you’d just spend your whole lifetime picking litter in the park until the message sinks in.

    67. stonefree says:

      @ Effijy 1:01 pm
      “I’d like to hear if the AA feel that it would offer any additional support to their members still new to the fight and struggling.”
      My understanding is, AA only require that the individual has the desire to stop drinking, so I doubt they would make a comment

    68. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “There as issues though, what about a drunk who is picked on or even assaulted, what if he fights back and wins, does that make him the loser?”

      Dealt with in earlier comments.

    69. sinkmac says:

      As a barman for years, I would personally go with actual cards – ie smart cards. Licence not to be just revoked – or moderated – by courts and authorities – but also by peers (mates) and perhaps family. Same model in a more liberal future could also be appplied to drugs.

    70. Lollysmum says:

      Stu
      This is one step further from the system we used to operate when I owned a pub in Cornwall many years ago.

      On the first day in the pub, we made it clear that we would not tolerate loutish behaviour from customers. We made it clear that we wanted families to feel comfortable there & if regulars didn’t like it they were welcome to go elsewhere to cause trouble.Cornish villages are very similar to football supporters & their intolerance of other team’s supporters.

      On that first night lots of personal tankards were removed from behind the bar & their owners left, complaining loudly to any who would listen.

      Two weeks later, all the tankards were back & many more besides. It seemed that we’d been adopted by customers of other pubs who had approved our stance & publicly supported it by joining us.

      By the end of the first month, not only were we doing well & changing the reputation of our pub but 2 of the 3 pubs in the next village did the same so we got together & formed a banning system covering the two villages & 3 pubs so if you were banned in one you were banned from 3. The word got around & eventually the local Licensed Victuallers Assoc introduced the same system across the area. The police thought it was a brilliant idea & fully supported it. Off licences joined in & supported it. The only ones who didn’t were the big supermarkets but that’s to be expected as money always talks after all.

      Formalising such a ban as you suggest is something that perhaps ought to be tried. We had no idea that what we did on that first night would start such a ball rolling as it did and we had no regrets.

      I even had wives calling me saying they were pleased we’d taken a stance & stuck to it because husbands/partners arrived home in better condition than previously so they didn’t get punched at the end of the night.
      Everyone knew who’d been banned in our area of 1 town, 40+ villages-so about 80 pubs in all.

      We also used to take car keys off would-be drivers so they couldn’t drive home-bit draconian but that worked as well. Drivers got used to coming back next day to collect their keys & car.

      This informal system worked for us but with somewhere like Glasgow I guess it would be more difficult to implement given the plethora of premises selling alcohol and each of those businesses struggling to stay alive. It would take some intensive lobbying to get any government to operate the system you advocate because it could also be seen as punishing those businesses for the actions of customers but then again each & every publican knows that it’s illegal to sell to someone who is drunk so if they do then it’s only right they should be hit by the loss of that person’s trade for a time.

      I also like the idea of linking it to other offences committed whilst under the influence. As an ex police officer I lost count of the times I had to give evidence in court where the accused gave drinking alcohol as the reason for committing their offence & believed they should be let off. Drinkers do need to take responsibility for their own actions. I once stopped a Jaguar being driven erratically, turned out that he was a local councillor, so drunk that he couldn’t stand up & could only do so by hanging onto to top of the drivers door. Arrested, breathalysed at 3 times over the limit, he went to court (after initially threatening me with the sack, calling Chief Constable etc) pleading that he’d had one too many.The magistrate was irate & gave him hell “one too many” he said “you had at least one bottle too many”. Bye bye driving licence-banned for 18 months.

      So yes, I could see something like this working if given time for it to bed down properly & be accepted by the people. Womens Aid might also see a drop in their custom as well & that can’t be a bad thing.

      BTW I am not anti-drinking at all but am in favour of maintaining personal control over it & not letting alcohol control me.

    71. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “a cute but totally unworkable idea”

      Why? Which aspect is unworkable? You know we expect better debating standards here than “It wouldn’t work!”

    72. Ricky says:

      Decided to retire YESGUY.

      Enjoyed rubbing the unionists up just with a name. But that was then and in the future we need support and open mindness.

      PS Chris couldn’t comment on this weeks toon. So big thanks for the laugh and new screen saver.

      onwards and upwards.

    73. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “So actually I’d prefer to see the implementation of minimum alcohol pricing, as I understand it this would not really affect your pensioner buying his or her bottle of whisky”

      It does. You used to be able to buy (cheap and nasty) own-label spirits in supermarkets for £8 a bottle. (I know because I used it to make sweetie-flavour vodka. There’s not much point buying Stolichnaya if you’re just going to dissolve 150g of Kola Kubes in it.) A minimum price of 50p a unit whacks that up to about £13, which is a whopping 60% increase.

      But I’m not AGAINST minimum pricing. At some level it has a part to play. But my plan is about crime, not health.

      “As for these ideas hitting the poor, then surely the real problem isn’t the cost of the drink but the shitty little wages, benefits and pensions that make the people poor in the first place.”

      Of course. But that’s a whole separate issue.

    74. liz g says:

      The cut off point for not reporting some one is when they are engaging in a activities that for me a lay person is legal.

      Do you ask to see someone’s TV licence when you see a TV on in their house or think their equipment may be able to receive a live broadcast.
      Do you get the police to check ….because the the law currently says that’s ileagl?

    75. Geoff Huijer says:

      Lollysmum (above) – excellent!

      I did a similar thing when I got a pub in a sleepy village in Shropshire. Also. on our first night I barred one of a group of lads and that was it; barred meant barred. The others took heed and behaved thereafter.

    76. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “The cut off point for not reporting some one is when they are engaging in a activities that for me a lay person is legal.”

      Fine. So either you know the banned person is banned, in which case you report them, or you don’t, in which case you don’t. Where’s the problem?

      If you see someone walking down the High Street with a shotgun, do you assume they’re a farmer with a licence, or do you point them out to a policeman?

    77. FairiefromEarth says:

      Rev out of all the comments i made thats the only one you will allow lol your a joke cmon what was wrong with the rest too close to the truth for you? why dont you let everybody else see what ive said and let them JUDGE?

    78. Libori says:

      Legalize pot and alot of these people would have something to make them less angry. Definitely a better way to go than all this liberty taking. Jim Murphy is up for it if he gets in!

    79. Stoker says:

      Grouse Beater says:
      “I certainly think those drunk and disorderly should, if employed, pay the cost of their arrest, overnight in a cell, appearance in court, and repair of any material damage.”

      Add to that list the recovery of any and all forms of medical treatment costs (A&E, Paramedics, treatments, medicines etc etc).

      I think that should apply to ALL, not just those in employment.
      If you can afford to get recklessly plastered you can afford to pay for the consequences.

      I also believe this should be extended to the boating community when rescue services are called out to incidents which involve intoxicated individuals – a minimum fine to recover the cost of the operation.

    80. Kara says:

      Leafleting this morning I saw what I have presumed to be the outcome of a drunken night out – entrance to a block of flats, security door glass (fairly thick glass) smashed, blood on the glass & blood on a letter box – drunken breaking & entering for which all the residents suffer & now very dangerous shards of glass possibly with bairns about. I have no idea if this has been reported but it urgently needs dealt with – I am going to speak to a local councillor now to see if they know what to do about it.

      In relation to the drinking licence my only concern is the spying on people, I just don’t like it – yet if someone is causing a disturbance/drunk and violent too – then breathalising/drug testing is fair & there should be re-hab & community service too – maybe they should be taken mountaineering, building bridges for local communities (literally we need a couple here), or given the opportunity to learn ways to let off steam (just thinking of how some folk are brought up & they should be helped not punished always)…

    81. tartanarse says:

      It doesn’t discriminate against people with an illness, unless these folks commit a crime.

      Insane folk are locked up if they commit a crime.

      It’s the old nothing to hide, nothing to fear. I can’t see any problems with it from a civil liberty point of view.

      How much does it currently cost to maintain someones criminal record. Nowt. This idea would cost nothing. It would actually ave money. If wee Tam knew he was on his last warning for downing bucky and smashing the bus stop, hes less likely to smash the bus stop even if he is pissed.

      A great idea unless you’re a law breaking pisshead.

    82. Lesley-Anne says:

      In the village where I live, Eastriggs, there is one pub. Now the village was not built until 1915 when it was built specifically to house all, or most of the workers who worked at the armaments factory in the village … until recently still being used by the M.O.D. as a bomb and missile storage facility.

      Anyway I digress, as usual *YAWN!*

      The village is actuaully built on M.O.D. land and so when it was built they introduced a local law that said no one was permitted to buy a “round” of drinks. If anyone wanted a drink, alcoholic or otherwise, from the bar they had to buy it for themselves and no one else.

      In fact this particular rule was not officially relaxed until the 1980’s, I believe, long before I arrived in the village. 😉

      Perhaps an updated version of this *ahem* rule running alongside Stu’s idea might be one way of trying to control drunken behaviour which can lead to spousal abuse when the drunk gets home.

    83. Effijy says:

      Hey Guys,

      Take it easy! I’m astonished at the nit picking going on here.
      The concept is good and like everything else, things get fine tuned and adjusted.

      This definitely deserves to be presented to a political party,
      SNP, Green, SSP, who would hopefully consult with the NHS, Constabulary, and organisations such as the AA.

      For the doubters, please send on your own ideas for solving our nations problems.
      PS The one about Independence is being worked on!

    84. Scotspine says:

      I’m with you all the way on this Rev.

      Only problem is the legal establishment. They often cite being drunk as a mitigating factor when defending some violent thug.

      Id go further. I’m not a fan of all things American, but this idea, coupled with new County jails where you get sent for short 30 day spells of Spartan life.

      Big jails as we have already for the folk who need to be rehabilitated and serious or habitual criminals and small county jails for thugs who think they can behave pished up with impunity.

    85. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Rev out of all the comments i made thats the only one you will allow lol your a joke cmon what was wrong with the rest too close to the truth for you? why dont you let everybody else see what ive said and let them JUDGE?”

      Because they’re ranting, abusive, incoherent drivel and you clearly haven’t actually read the article.

      There are only two people on this site whose posts are pre-moderated. You’re one of them, because you can’t be trusted. You’re regularly abusive and post violent threats that could get us in a lot of trouble, but even then I try to let your comments through if they’re legitimate. If you’d prefer I can just ban you permanently.

    86. heedtracker says:

      I’d make heavy drinking look as ridiculously stupid as smoking or even drink driving. It would take a decade or so to alter Scottish booze culture but it works. In England pubs are closing down at some rate but our imperial masters/teamGB establishment hate it. Funny that.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-21402497

    87. gerry parker says:

      Got this in response to an inquiry earlier this year.

      http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2009/12/29122804/0

      Surely indicates that alcohol duty raised by sales in Scotland should go directly to the Scottish Government.

      2007 costs of alcohol specific offences and alcohol specific crimes £727.1 million

    88. Roger Hyam says:

      Rev. I admire your motivation but it wouldn’t work.

      1) Problem drinking is not what gets in front of the law. It consists of middle age, middle class people pickling their livers and brain cells and then being a burden on the rest of us to care for or just plain dead when they could be useful. It is the drunks who abuse their families without crossing the line to criminal charges – the broken marriages and messed up kids. Most of it happens below the radar.

      2) You are effectively upping a punishment and that doesn’t work. If you have a drink problem to the extent you get in trouble with the law then you probably won’t be put off much by a ban. They used to hang people for stealing sheep but they still stole sheep.

      If people lived fulfilling, happy lives they wouldn’t drink so much. The fact that they don’t live such lives is the real political question we need to address. Treat causes not symptoms.

    89. Geoff Huijer says:

      The thing with this idea is that it DOES look at dealing with the anti-social behaviour that drinking causes.

      Equally, on reflection, in terms of addicts it could perhaps encourage people to look at taking responsibility for their actions (and their recovery).

      So, for example, if alcoholics that were in some sort of treatment were given some sort of ‘lesser’ punishment/leeway (recognising their particular addiction & attempts to recover) it could:

      a) encourage those already in treatment to continue.
      b) encourage others to get into treatment/a recovery programme.
      c) still punish anti-social behaviour for those drinkers that can be habitual problem-makers.

      The idea is also a very good starting point for addressing a problem that so far authorities have had no success in addressing. Remember the ‘we’ll have longer opening hours & develop a cafe culture like Paris’ nonsense?

    90. Gary says:

      We’ve already got this, its called ‘gettin barred fae the pub’. Repeat offenders are barred from everywhere and can only drink ‘Kerry oots’ which are, for the most part, imbibed at home – save for al fresco drinking groups.
      Having the misfortune to be a native Greenockian I suffer under the most draconian drinking regulations in the UK. We have dry areas, no outdoor drinking, curfews (until recently 11pm but now its 12am) continuous police objections to licences, licences and new drinking premises. Steadily our drinking establishments have become less violent and rowdy, fewer customers in total have seen many closures too. No 24 hour drinking here! It DOES work but is it democratic? Are the same violent drinkers just taking it out of their wives and kids instead?

    91. sinkmac says:

      If not smart cards then what about an app? Looks like we’re moving to a cashless society soon – kids in US now apparently pay in Starbucks with their phones – so why not have ability to make payment e-connected to what you are actually buying.
      Also there may well be a non-intrusive blood alcohol app in the future – or even better an anger sensor.
      Alo on carrot side = why not use fines raised etc as a reward for those that can handle their bevvy – discounts etc 🙂

    92. Ricky says:

      This is a great idea Stu.

      Scotland has many a problem with drink but there are other causes that go with it.

      Drugs. Speed, Cocaine and lager go hand in hand with each other now. Everywhere you look the same. Something has to be done and soon.

      Educating the guilty works only if they will change their lifestyle and that’s a step too far for some.

      We have very little trouble with ordinary drinkers . Most folk try and be sensible but i believe there are other factors like drugs that are the real issue.

      Scotlands pubs are more than drinking dens. I have got jobs by asking around the pubs more succesfully than any jobcenter. It’s a place where we meet friends we cannot see due to work. my locals always make big efforts for gala days etc.

      Our relationship with the local boozer is close one. Even those that rarely go in know they will meet a friendly face along with the odd nutter.

      I like the idea of a license. Asbo’s don’t work as the troublemakers just go somewhere else. I don’t have answers but like this one.

      Bit different to slagging the unionists off. hope your not going soft Stu. We took years of drivel from them and i am only just getting started with payback.

      PS would the moneys from fines go to WM like everything else ?

      🙂

    93. FairiefromEarth says:

      oh so the point about putting a chip in a card is a ranting i dont drink it dosent affect me, but if you think they dont want to put a chip on every product that is produced so they can track it all, your the one living in cloud coocoo land, but the state and the corporations knowing what my sister and mother bought me for Christmas will have no bearing on my benefits in the future, i mean your pushing the big brother state where our liberties are imposed by a tyrannical state witch lead me to presume your looking forward to camp reeducation or your a shill for the New World Order, as a God fearing UFK i hope your not a jesuit.

    94. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “If people lived fulfilling, happy lives they wouldn’t drink so much. The fact that they don’t live such lives is the real political question we need to address. Treat causes not symptoms.”

      I’m being as patient as I can here, but you’re pushing it now.

      The article CLEARLY STATES that wider social causes need to be addressed. But those same causes lead to other crime and nobody says “Oh look, there’s no point arresting people for mugging and burglary because the system causes them”.

      Prevention is always better than cure, and this idea seeks to increase prevention – thereby keeping people out of prison AND hospital, and freeing up resources for other things – by making it harder for anti-social drunks to get drunk and be anti-social. It isn’t claiming to be the one-stop solution to all of society’s woes, FFS.

    95. liz g says:

      I would think about getting a shot gun checked out cause like I said that is something not legal for me so would make a judgement call
      But you seem to be suggesting a blanket law that assumes everyone has to be correctly licenced.
      Which is more like the TV licence than a gun licence,
      and while alcohol is still legal the restrictions you suggested only enhance the power of the state to give it the right for further interference in you’re life.

    96. Callum says:

      Interesting, that many of the readers here will have embedded values in freedom and the right to make our own decisions in life. Whilst the majority are clearly not anarchistic; a prohibition model of drinking is a strange thing to come up with first for the Wings Party Manifesto!

      There are parallels with the response I get from the fairly dangerous sport I do; I do it because I want to – why should nannying people get involved in my life to say it is dangerous and I might hurt myself.

      Whilst I applaud the Cornish pub landlord above and I have seen similar systems operate in closed environments (club bars, military messes) – an uncontrolled system like that usually bullies the people they “don’t like”.

      PS: I’m not a big drinker by any stretch, just sayin’.

    97. Stoker says:

      Ricky says:
      “Decided to retire YESGUY.”

      PHEEEEEW, i was just about to chin you for pinching ‘YESGUY’ avatar.
      Glad i held fire and saved myself a riddy.
      🙂

    98. Devorgilla says:

      In Norway they regulate the problem by the institution of the Vinmonopol (state-owned wine monopoly). This is a special government owned shop you go to to buy alcohol stronger than beer (which can be bought from supermarkets now, though it didn’t used to be). There is no exterior advertising outside the shop, or anywhere in public for alcohol. Pubs don’t really exist (not part of Norwegian tradition, because villages didn’t really exist) but where they do, in the larger towns, and in restaurants, prices are exorbitant. Prices in the Vinmonopol are higher than here, but are more broadly in line with prices and wages generally, so not excessive by Norwegian standards.

      Drink driving is severely discouraged. There is no safe maximum limit recognised in law, any amount of alcohol in your blood is simply illegal and hefty fines are imposed.

      Norway felt it had a huge problem with alcohol. Most cooler countries with dark winters do.

    99. Grouse Beater says:

      The moral issue:

      What happens if you don’t stop your best pal from boozin’ when you know he’s banned. Or worse, ply him with drink nevertheless, thinking it won’t be reported, and then out he goes and chucks a brick though a shop window for fun?

      Guilty by association? Aiding and abetting?

    100. FairiefromEarth says:

      and of course the chemtrails is just some mad conspiracy theiry they aint spraying the population with cancer giving particles, the funny thing is history has proven the conspiracy theiries turn out to be FACT.

    101. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “oh so the point about putting a chip in a card is a ranting i dont drink it dosent affect me, but if you think they dont want to put a chip on every product that is produced so they can track it all, your the one living in cloud coocoo land, but the state and the corporations knowing what my sister and mother bought me for Christmas will have no bearing on my benefits in the future, i mean your pushing the big brother state where our liberties are imposed by a tyrannical state witch lead me to presume your looking forward to camp reeducation or your a shill for the New World Order, as a God fearing UFK i hope your not a jesuit.”

      And that, readers, is why most of FairiefromEarth’s posts don’t make it through moderation. A glimpse behind the curtain for you, there.

    102. Legerwood says:

      G P Walrus @ 1pm

      The rail network is in public ownership – Network Rail. It is the train services running on the network that are privately owned.

      On the subject of the article it seems a reasonable idea but, as others have said, it tackless a small albeit public part of the problem. Current legislation may also allow stiffer penalties for disruptive/criminal behaviour if alcohol is an aggravating factor and then you also have ASBOs. Therefore it may just be adding an extra, and sometimes redundant, layer to existing underused measures.

    103. Taranaich says:

      I love the idea of Saturday Politics Natters, I hope it becomes a thing.

      I think the policy sounds good. Can’t really say anything else about it, to be frank.

      For most people alcohol is a harmless, even beneficial thing.

      (Full disclosure: I’m teetotal for health reasons)

      The problem is that too many people view it as harmless or beneficial even in situations where it is quite obviously neither of those things. (And, strictly speaking, alcohol isn’t harmless at the best of times: like many of life’s most enjoyable things, it actively damages your body to an extent). Getting so blootered you pass out and need someone to make sure you don’t choke on your own tongue or vomit is not a healthy state of affairs, yet too many people are happy to let people drink themselves into oblivion. As you say, there are a whole host of social dimensions to Scotland’s alcohol problem.

      My approach to the problem would be the same as the approach to smoking, which has seen dramatic reductions in recent years. Now, the health issues with smoking are different, of course (you can’t get “passive inebriation”), but I think some of the measures could be used for alcohol. For instance:

      – Ban on alcohol advertisements. This will obviously affect sales to an extent, but making alcohol less ubiquitous and normalised in media does have an effect.

      – More awareness of the effects of alcohol. This might not be a popular suggestion, but I think some sort of acknowledgement of the dangers on each bottle wouldn’t go amiss as a timely reminder. If you’re not bothered about taxing your liver or dulling your synapses, then being reminded of it shouldn’t phase you – but if you are concerned, well, perhaps it’ll be a timely reminder?

      – Tougher sentences and greater regulation on sales of alcohol to minors, pregnant women, and people who are clearly already drunk. There’s little to be gained in punishing pregnant women for the sake of the baby, because the baby will suffer too. Same for children. But people who are responsible for the sale of alcohol should be much more careful, and need to be watched like a hawk.

    104. Robert Bryce says:

      Won’t work.

      Folk that can’t handle their ale will continue to drink without a licence just like folk continue to drive a car without one – sometimes even pished as well.

      Why as a society do we focus on treating symptoms of illnesses and problems?

      Why not concentrate on the root cause of the problems? Social inequality for instance may lead to depression which in turn may lead to excessive drinking which may lead to domestic violence.
      We’re creatures of habit and learned behaviour and so it perpetuates itself generation after generation.

      Will a licence make someone less likely to be socially deprived? Will a licence make someone’s depression go away?

      I wouldn’t think so if I’m honest.

      Giving someone a purpose in life with a strong feeling of self worth and self respect I feel would make them less likely to piss their life up a wall.

      Instead of issuing a licence why not tackle the root causes?

      I will concede though that there are people with highly addictive personalities or violent tendencies that will simply do what they do.

      Society needs to change, making laws will achieve nothing more than mask a problem behind statistics.

      Sorry for pissing on the parade. Just how I feel about!

    105. Myr says:

      My idea is simpler pour every bottle/cask/can down the Clyde (might affect the fishing industry though). Seriously though we need to start thinking of alcohol as the neural poison it is and do something, the cost to those dependent on it, their families and society at large is astronomical. If a drinking licence would help let’s try it but we need to do something.

    106. Proud Cybernat says:

      FWIW – I think it’s not a bad idea and certainly better than some of the efforts that has been tried already.

      Do they get more points on their license if they voted No in the referendum?

    107. ErinT says:

      That sounds like a pretty promising proposal! I’d be for something like that so long as prices (and taxes) are increased for supermarket purchases and legalising of less harmful drugs such as cannabis was considered (again, taxed highly). The controlled use of drugs could also be facilitated through a license and the extra revenue could be diverted to the NHS.

    108. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Why as a society do we focus on treating symptoms of illnesses and problems?

      Why not concentrate on the root cause of the problems?”

      Okay, from now on anyone who says this is just getting deleted. These are NOT fucking either-or situations! We try to cure cancer AND we treat it while it still exists.

    109. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “(And, strictly speaking, alcohol isn’t harmless at the best of times: like many of life’s most enjoyable things, it actively damages your body to an extent).”

      True, but you have to balance that against other, beneficial health effects like stress reduction, as well as social benefits.

    110. Rosa Alba says:

      It sounds nanny state – and Big Brother-ish but no more than Driving Licences so yes, it could be an option, as long as rehabilitative measures are available.

      eg there are accessible treatment programmes and support groups which are facilitated beyond the present.

      I wonder about dog licences being reintroduced too, similarly.

    111. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      ‘But you seem to be suggesting a blanket law that assumes everyone has to be correctly licenced.”

      Oh for the love of Christ. The article EXPLICITLY specifies the EXACT OPPOSITE of that.

    112. Grouse Beater says:

      Stoker:
      Add to that list the recovery of any and all forms of medical treatment costs (A&E, Paramedics, treatments, medicines etc etc).

      Absolutely. Agreed. 🙂

    113. Rev

      Didn’t you report on here previously a study that said Glasgow’s link with alcohol only happened after Thatcher’s wrecking ball destroyed so much of Scottish industry? I’ve seen a report elsewhere that said similar, that in the 1950s (or something) Scottish livers were very much healthy livers.

      If that is the case, Thatcher is to blame for Scotland’s current drink culture and – long term – we’d need to tackle poverty and poor education.

      Even doing so, though, could still leave you with angry drunks – just richer and better educated, but still a problem. These types generally identify themselves through anti-social behaviour, resulting in them being arrested. I don’t know if there’s been any studies showing the affect of being convicted – do these types calm down with booze after their court appearance? That might have the desired effect you’re looking for.

      I agree with you that tax hikes do not change behaviour but only punish the poor. There are a number of “poor drunks” staggering the streets but they generally don’t do any harm but could be arrested by an angry cop for breach of the peace because they’re maybe staggering or being rather loud. Given our lack of faith in the police, I wouldn’t like to see them being given the power to potentially screw-over an otherwise innocent life by constantly getting them banned from drinking (who would the Judge believe, PC Plod or ‘the drunk’?).

      So although your idea is interesting, it’s not for me – unless you had cameras monitoring the police so you could show the police were being nasty bastards and thus the drunk gets off (rightly so) and your “criminal drinker” was ‘chipped’, so no need for ‘community spying’.

      Chipping: You could use medical-monitoring technology, where a chip is inserted under your skin. It measures blood alcohol levels and would send a signal to the police that you’re drinking illegally. But I’m uncomfortable with “chipping” humans. Again, it puts too much power into the hands of police – and some police are not fit to have that power.

      So an interesting idea but I think I prefer the current system – commit an obvious crime and you get punished. Until we have systems that monitor the police and force them to be decent human beings, the less power we give them over ourselves, the better.

      Thought-provoking article though – rather enjoyed it.

      Cheers,

      Greg

    114. Ricky says:

      Big happy thank you Stoker. 🙂

      Great to know your watching my back my friend. Decided to stop being Mr Angry and try and find common ground with the enemy, after all they are Scots too.

      Really get up the Guardians , new Statesmen etc. they see the name and go all weird .

      Now it;s big deep breaths and nicer words. I might be going a wee bit soft but in truth i have started feeling sorry for them. Especially the labour party hangers on, hoping for someone to agree with them as they are dropping like flies.

      This is a nice break in threads.

      Great comments and a few who have very different ones. naughty , Naughty … leave off our Stu.

      Or i’ll get STOKER to have a quiet word. 😉

    115. The Man in the Jar says:

      Go on. Take a drink!

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vYY_EaCPGFw

    116. Ricky says:

      Big happy thank you Stoker. 🙂

      Great to know your watching my back my friend. Decided to stop being Mr Angry and try and find common ground with our ” proud Scots ….. but”

      They are now officially an endangered species. 🙂 😉

      The new me . Calm responsible and reasonable .

      ………. well a wee bit.

      big sober hug to Stoker.

    117. Ricky says:

      Big happy thank you Stoker. 🙂

      This ladies and gents is an Alert reader.

      🙂 Big sober hug Stoker. 🙂

      Canny imagine you getting a ridder. Far too smart. 🙂

    118. Craig P says:

      Wouldn’t need to go as far as revoking a license. The govt could add alcohol as an aggravating factor to any anti social behaviour, similar to the current hate crime legislation. So if you lamped someone whilst under the influence you would get a stiffer sentence than if you had done so sober.

      I also think there are too many drinking sheds and not enough continental style cafe bars with enough seats for everyone, at least there used to be when I was a regular pub goer!

    119. Ricky says:

      Big happy thank you Stoker. 🙂

      This ladies and gents is an Alert reader.

      🙂 Big sober hug Stoker. 🙂

    120. Ricky says:

      Stoker@

      Big thanks buddy. great to know your watching my back. This is a fine example of an Alert Reader. 🙂

      Big sober hug my friend 😉

    121. An earlier poster mentioned Norway and difficulty of buying spirits there:

      I had a uni friend from Norway, claimed he couldn’t get drunk here because booze was too weak, including whisky.

      Because of high prices in Norway, there’s a thriving moonshine market. A fish lorry comes into town but only the few crates near the door are fish, the rest are gallon jugs of 96% proof moonshine. They buy this by the gallon. They add a shot to coffee and that’s how they drink it.

      People like alcohol, we have an enzyme in our bodies specifically to process it so we should accept humans and alcohol will always be linked. Prohibition doesn’t work – both Norway and America have shown that.

    122. Ricky says:

      Stoker@

      Big thanks buddy. great to know your watching my back. 🙂

    123. Gods Country says:

      Rev go on and tell us please – who is the other one you moderate. Is he/she worse than FairieFromEarth 🙂

      Oh and by the way great idea and defo a submission to the Scottish Gov is warranted.

    124. KennyG says:

      I can’t believe some of the negative comments on this. Sounds like an excellent idea. It’s not grassing on each other. If you saw a drunk driver swerving down the road you’d call the police. So what’s the difference in phoning them to report a banned drunk who’s been banned for a violent or sexual crime? There’s no difference. You’re trying to stop something bad happening.

      Like it says, it’s flexible, so you could start with warnings for smaller things like urinating or a minor breach, right up to life bans for more serious offences like murder, rape or serious assault.

      The only people this would punish are those who commit serious crime through alcohol and as well as helping society, it could also help them as well.

    125. Ricky says:

      sorry folks pc having a right day off . Grrrrr bang goes the temper

      Refusing posts one minute posting ones. Even deleted ones again and again.

      I blame Labour they are everywhere screwing up things.

      bangs goes the “be nice” mode.

      Apoligies again.

      Give ye peace while i put my coupon on

    126. mjaei says:

      Mmm… Not sure about this one, Rev. Seems a bit state-over-reachy to me, and perhaps over-simplifying the issue.

      What about in cases where someone is spiked, or has a rough period in their life & goes on a bit of a binge and does something out of character and stupid, which they regret… Despite paying any fine or serving the existing punishment for any crime they’d committed, months later they could be barred from just having a quiet drink on their birthday or at a friend’s wedding, or a family member’s wake.

      I’m not convinced that encouraging people to ‘grass’ on each other to pre-emptively stop a crime that may or may not occur is really a direction we want to go in.

      I think the biggest problem, which others have mentioned & I don’t think you’ve properly answered, is that your effectively criminalising addiction. There’s so much evidence that criminalising things like drug addiction/prostitution just exacerbates the problem. It drives people into shadier environments, and makes it harder for people to reintegrate into society.

      I know you mention that there are obviously much larger surrounding issues which contribute to our problems with drink, but I don’t think more draconian laws & punishments are the solution to anything. I kind of think that one of the reasons our culture has developed to have such an unhealthy attitude towards drink, drugs etc. is because of how illiberal our laws are which surround them. A huge proportion of drink-related crime occurs when we kick all of the drunk folk out of the club and into the street at 3am, all at the same time. Also, if you look at places where people can drink from younger ages, people tend to develop a much more mature relationship with alcohol. OK this is a crude analogy, but just consider how crazy kids go here when they turn 18, or think about American frat parties when they turn 21, then think about France.

      I think a similar case can be made when you look at places where they have decriminalised pot, etc..

      A serious concerted effort by the government to tackle poverty and help provide jobs and opportunities for those in our poorest communities, to help raise living standards and make people value themselves, their lives and those of their peers is what we really need. Not a new method of infantilising the general population.

    127. gary says:

      Good idea but I think having to produce your licence at the point of purchase would negate having to phone up and shop people. If anyone barred is drunk then you could fine the supplier as well as the person. Drinking in someone’s house then becomes a bit less likely to get out of hand as everyone could be held culpable for supplying that one friend.

    128. Krieger's Clones says:

      All for this, except the part about jail. Treat it as a public health issue (ie. mandatory treatment/rehab for repeat infractions). The repeat offenders will no-doubt be those stuck in the alcoholism cycle and jail will do fuck all to help them.

    129. Taranaich says:

      True, but you have to balance that against other, beneficial health effects like stress reduction, as well as social benefits.

      Of course. 🙂

    130. liz g says:

      Every one would have it by default?
      In what sense is that the opposite of a blanket right which is then removable?

    131. Robert Knight says:

      Imagine the party you’d have when you got your drinking licence back – it’d be fecking awesome!

    132. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “but I don’t think more draconian laws & punishments are the solution to anything”

      It’s not draconian. It’s aimed at stopping people BEFORE they get pissed and do something serious.

    133. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “having to produce your licence at the point of purchase would negate having to phone up and shop people.”

      Make it a physical licence and you achieve nothing except cost and bureaucracy. People will fake them. People who’ve never committed a crime will accidentally leave them in the house and not be able to buy a glass of wine. Banned people will simply go to the pub with someone else and get them to buy all the drinks. Etc etc.

    134. Johnny says:

      Lollysmum @ 1:28

      Definitely. ‘I was drunk’ is no excuse for anything. It may sound an extreme example but in instances where someone’s life has been ruined by another’s behaviour, I don’t think the first person is going to be all that interested in what state the drunk person was in and nor should they be. ‘I was drunk’ is a cop-out. And I say this as someone who likes to drink far more than is good for me on occasion, so I am no Puritan.

    135. Marcia says:

      Good idea. An internet version of Speaker’s Corner.

    136. galamcennalath says:

      This might sound like an opt out from the discussion. I don’t really care what legislation a future government passes, as long it is an independent Scottish one elected in a genuine democratic manner and acting within the boundaries set by a written constitution.

      That said, ok I’m not completely opting out, Scotland does have an excess alcohol problem. Perhaps a good place to start might be to view best practice from other nations. There are two extremes, the draconian Nordic way, or the relaxed Mediterranean one of social attitudes which appear to suppress individual over consumption. The first could be implemented quickly, the second take generations to achieve! And, as has already been pointed out, cold dark northern climates don’t seem to help – that is something we can do nothing about!

    137. Johnny says:

      The other thing is that some pubs might make money, to replace any they lose, from people who currently sit in on a Saturday night because they do think ‘it’s like a jungle out there’ and that they are basically certain to get smashed in the face by some drunk or other. This idea could lead some to feel that going out is safer.

    138. Nod Bruce says:

      It’s an interesting idea, though I can see some problems, i.e.:

      1) It would constitute a limited form of prohibition, likely causing illegal avoidance measures. These would have to be carefully managed to avoid an underground criminal boozing culture or “license-free speakeasies”. This could incur policing costs (but might, at least, localise the problem).

      2) I have encountered “alcoholics” who, if deprived of booze, become violently psychotic anyway – the booze is an excuse, not a cause. I realise this comes under “mental health issues”, I’m trying to indicate that the lines are currently blurred by our alcohol culture.

      This might lead to hidden costs of implementation in the health services, for example. Certainly, wide consultation would be in order.

      On the other hand, courts currently tend to accept drunkenness as a mitigating factor in crime. Treating it as an aggravating factor would be a great improvement – drunkenness should not absolve criminals from responsibility and this idea might achieve that change.

      So, while I think it could be a good idea, I believe it would be a more involved and complex (and undoubtedly, therefore, expensive) undertaking than just making a new law & crossing our fingers.

      But history has shown that a high alcohol price drives alcoholics to use substitutes – the historically low price of wine was (as I recall) a successful measure to curb meths / wood-alcohol drinking, so individual licensing seems preferable to increased minimum prices, if it can be made to work fairly and humanely.

    139. steveasaneilean says:

      Hi Stu – as someone who deals with the drug and alcohol problems of others I have to disagree with your implied criticism of minimum pricing. It is the only measure aimed at reducing alcohol consumption for which a good evidence basis exists and should be introduced without delay. The behaviour of the Scottish Whisky Association in trying to prevent this is shameful in my view (as was the tribal opposition of Labour). It is supported by all those organisations who must deal with the fall out of alcohol misuse.

      The other measure I would introduce is a much tougher enforcement of existing licensing laws. So if you are a pub or supermarket who knowingly sells alcohol to someone who is intoxicated you lose your licence to sell. For a first offence this might be for a week or two then a month or two then a year or two then permanent loss for repeat offenders. In the case of a supermarket this suspension of licence would apply to ALL branches (likewise for pub chains).

    140. Matt Seattle says:

      Rev Stu wrote “(There are often wider social causes determining which of those groups someone is in, which obviously need to be dealt with too, but it seems a worthwhile thing in its own right to make the streets safe while we’re doing it.)

      It’s much harder and more expensive (though only in the short term) to treat the causes than repress the symptoms, but it’s the only way to cure the condition without the causes producing other equally unwanted symptoms – and I apologise if someone’s said this already, I haven’t read all the posts.

      ps just read the post by mjaei, saying the same in more detail – but keep thinking out of the box – not that anyone’s gonna stop you!

    141. Swami Backverandah says:

      Interesting reading the thread, and congrats to you Stu for engaging below the line (Old Groanspeak).

      Haven’t thought through any of the finer points, but would some similar system of card-carrying be useful applied firstly to those who’ve already come to the notice of the law. To begin, it could be applicable to them, rather than start as a mass general roll out? (It may already exist.)Could gain wider acceptability with the general public to begin with.
      Whatever, it’s probably worth getting some input from those on the receiving end -in all aspects – of drunken violence, and if it seems a reasonable move forward in any respect, it could be trialled.
      Thanks for posting a stimulating article.

    142. Lesley-Anne says:

      Robert Knight says:

      Imagine the party you’d have when you got your drinking licence back – it’d be fecking awesome!

      Just long enought to lose your licence again Robert. 😀

    143. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “underground criminal boozing culture or “license-free speakeasies””

      We have those now. We call them “houses”.

    144. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “So if you are a pub or supermarket who knowingly sells alcohol to someone who is intoxicated you lose your licence to sell.”

      Again, though, you punish the vast majority of ordinary decent citizens for the misdeeds of a tiny handful.

      And I’ve already said I’m not against minimum pricing.

    145. Titler says:

      If you lose your drinking licence, nobody would try to monitor you. BUT, if anyone saw you drinking alcohol, they could call the police, and if they came round and found that you’d been imbibing you’d be immediately arrested and subjected to whatever sanctions the law decreed – fines, community punishments, and finally imprisonment for severe or repeat offences.

      The problem with that is, because the licence is in effect only a database that can be referred too after the fact by the correct authorities, the public have no way to correctly judge whether someone drinking alcohol is doing it illegally or not.

      This may not be a problem for decent people like Rev Stu and most posters here, because they would be unlikely to report someone for drinking until they also crossed over into other criminal actions. Most people are not as decent as Rev Stu however… the world is full of prod-noses and vindictive little shites, as the tale of The Phantom Lock Gluer Of Old Bath Town shows.

      To quote the first lines, which are relevant to the debate here, “The upside of the situation is that I no longer have any practical reason to be bothered about the ID card bill, I suppose.” As an individual, at least for one with such a high profile as Rev.Stu, the frequency of having the Police set upon them for spurious reasons is unlikely to be changed; I read some of the criticism online of WoSco, and frankly I’d expect the unhinged individuals to be reporting him every single day. But for something like “Suspected use of alcohol without a license” the wider effect on society would rapidly accelerate the already miserable state of community relations.

      For instance; I live in a terrace house, converted into mini-flats. The man above me can often be heard screaming to himself about something. “Fucking fuckers. Fuck you! Bastards!” He can be heard violently hammering things, sawing wood at odd hours, randomly hoovering the floor aggressively. He stomps up and down the stairs, and if he hears someone else close a door at what he thinks is too loud a volume, he used to keep slamming his own as if it were a fight. I’ve heard him wake the other flat at 4 in the morning and have blazing rows. The landlord won’t let him have a contact number any more and asked me not to pass it on to him, even if there was an emergency. I know he writes abusive letters to local politicians, as he brags about it and I recognise the House of Commons watermarks when replies come.

      But he doesn’t get drunk, as far as I know. He suffers from Schizophrenia. He has no friends though, and if we wanted too, we could report him for drinking; After all, it could be he’s drunk when he’s sawing wood in the early hours. I’ve seen his shopping occasionally and there are tins of beer there. He’s certainly a social nuisance. So report him again and again and again until it stuck once, and because he has no self control, if he got breath tested after drinking a cider before the second police visit, he’s in serious trouble. He won’t know I’m reporting him.

      And then there would be peace in the building. So… how decent am I, really? And do you trust my word that I am to not make the selfish call there?

      A year or two ago there was a lady in the flat downstairs. I never really saw her, or heard a thing from her; except to meet her in passing on the landing to say hello. And she was always completely off her face; pleasant with it, but obviously utterly unable to function otherwise. One day I walked by on my way out and heard a beautiful lament being sang in Welsh coming through the door. I knocked and said hello, and it turned out to be the ladies sister. They were removing her things because a few days earlier she’d gone out in one of our increasingly hot summers to drink to excess again. Alcohol is actually everything all at once, a stimulant and simultaneous depressant as well as a drink that dehydrates you whilst making you urinate. So she’d not taken any water that day, got as far as our shared front door, and collapsed on the doorstep, inches from the doorbell. I had no idea she was out there. Someone passing on the street called an ambulance but she died before it came I gather.

      Should I have intervened before then? I’ve questioned my judgement since, but her sister on the day I found her singing over the mildewed and chaotic remains of her sisters final possessions said she’d cut herself off from all of them too. That no one could have done anything.

      Would a police report have helped? And if so, whose conscience would it really have been helping, is it clearing hers or easing mine?

      Now this article isn’t really addressing those issues; it’s designed to deal with the violent neds who make life for those around them miserable. But the only difference between the suggestions made here and the Anti Social Behavioural Order (ASBO) which can already remove the right to drink alcohol (amongst many, many other things) is that it seeks to make a pre-standing new criminal offence for alcohol along the lines of driving without a licence.

      And it’s true, people don’t report each other constantly every time someone they don’t like is seen behind the wheel of a car; but that’s because even a primate can work out whether those conditions are met. Is the car moving? Yes. Is the person we accuse on the same side as the steering wheel? Yes. Is this a trick question? No. Then they’re driving. Do they have a licence? No. Then they are breaking the law.

      But usage of alcohol, or at least the signs of usage of it are much more difficult to identify, much less tackle. It isn’t all drinking special brew/buckfast in public parks. And into all of this complication, you’ll set vindictive little curtain twitchers, and over-worked but not over-thinking PC Plod, and both will apply a ratching up of legal sanctions…?

      Now I actually agree, if someone has been proven to be socially unable to responsibly use alcohol, the state should intervene every time they do it again. But they already can, through the ASBO system. For all the good that does, except for allowing tabloids to label certain people beyond society and beyond saving. One thing it doesn’t do though is allow them to test for something that you might not have been doing, or were but was completely unrelated to the supposed crime reported.

      Unless you intend it to be a crime to report people who had no evidence of actual possession of alcohol on them; that unless you see the tinny yourself… in which case the Police now have to decide whether to prosecute both sides for even more crimes…

      I just don’t see how this idea then is any better than the solutions the state already has in place. Which is why I suspect people here are pointing out to social, educational etc approaches instead. Not that they’ve not read the article, but that they have and think the solution lies elsewhere.

    146. slackshoe says:

      I like this idea, it’s far too sensible and fair to actually work! If they did ever implement something like this, they should also do the same for cannabis and other soft drugs.

    147. mjaei says:

      The state taking away your right to choose what you eat or drink isn’t draconian?

      I get that the licence is well-meaning, but I’m not convinced that it would be the best way forward.

      I don’t think you addressed the main points of my previous post, that others have also mentioned, especially about criminalising addiction.

    148. Skip_NC says:

      Haven’t read all the comments (it’s tax season over here) but I feel bound to observe that alcohol is not the only drug available.

    149. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “The state taking away your right to choose what you eat or drink isn’t draconian?”

      No. The state takes things away from people all the time to protect themselves and others.

    150. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “This may not be a problem for decent people like Rev Stu and most posters here, because they would be unlikely to report someone for drinking until they also crossed over into other criminal actions. Most people are not as decent as Rev Stu however… the world is full of prod-noses and vindictive little shites”

      You miss the point, I think. Someone phones the police and says “That bastard Stuart Campbell is drinking in the pub!”

      The police tap a few keys, find that I’m not banned from drinking and say “Fuck off and stop wasting our time, pal.”

      Story over.

      And if someone IS banned from drinking and is drinking, then it’s GOOD that somebody reports them.

      Once again: this isn’t a proposal to solve all of society’s problems. It’s a proposal to help with one very specific one.

    151. wingman 2020 says:

      You have to have a licence to purchase alcohol in most Gulf States.

    152. wingman 2020 says:

      Impossible to implement in this case… although we could try it on England first to see if it works. A bit like poll tax.

    153. Paula Rose says:

      It would not be ‘grassing’ or ‘snooping’ but being socially responsible.

    154. Soda says:

      I like this idea. It certainly has merit… i do think one possible sentence could be a compulsary smoking of a joint tho 😉

    155. wingman 2020 says:

      How about a licence for sex!! And if you commit an offence you get points and banned. Imagine.

    156. mjaei says:

      I take it you’d be up for GCHQ scanning your emails for words like ‘booze’, ‘alcohol’ and ‘last Saturday was wild, I can’t believe you slept with that midget’, for evidence that you’d recently broken the terms of your drink licence – y’know, to protect yourself and others?

    157. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Impossible to implement in this case”

      Don’t make me say it again or I’ll get very cranky.

    158. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “I don’t think you addressed the main points of my previous post, that others have also mentioned, especially about criminalising addiction.”

      It has nothing to do with addiction. If you’re an alcoholic the law won’t apply to you unless you actually commit an alcohol-aggravated crime. And if you do, the extra sanctions will reduce the availability of alcohol to you, which can only help.

    159. KennyG says:

      @mjaei 2.41pm

      “I’m not convinced that encouraging people to ‘grass’ on each other to pr-emtively stop a crime that may or my not occur is really a direction we want to go in”

      I think you’re missing the point there. It doesn’t advocate ‘grassing’ anybody up who might have had a slip up.

      It’s more to do with more serious crime being commited, mainly, violence and sexual assault and where alcohol was a factor.

      Imagine a violent drunk, just released from a life sentence for murder, who had been banned from drinking for life, as the judge or jury decided that alcohol was a major factor and who it was believed that if they drank alcohol would be highly likely to re-offend, walking into a pub, or buying alcohol from a shop. It’s trouble waiting to happen. And it’s likely to.

      Or a recently released rapist or violent armed robber. I’m not saying we should grass everybody. But why should we protect these kinds of people? The idea is to try and change things, because whatever we’re doing right now, it’s not working.

    160. Paula Rose says:

      Around here people get barred from all the local pubs on a permanent basis – I actually think a time-limited ban a better idea.

    161. KennyG says:

      And BTW, I also want a cannabis licence. I promise not to do anything mental under its influence. I’m willing to turn up at court and swear an oath to that effect. And you can take it away if I do.

    162. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “I’m not convinced that encouraging people to ‘grass’ on each other to pr-emtively stop a crime that may or my not occur is really a direction we want to go in”

      The crime IS occurring. Someone banned from drinking is drinking. Do you not regard driving while banned as a crime?

    163. Clootie says:

      I look at young people in Italy sitting in Bars and restaurants having fun without getting drunk.

      It will take a few generations and a lot off effort until we can avoid saying …gaun hae a drink!

    164. mogabee says:

      I can see the benefit to this. I had to read the piece again though to get it clear in my mind.

      I don’t see any reason why it cannot work and would be useful to get a political or legal view.

      Perhaps as people seem to be confused with some issues, do you think a set scenario may be useful? Or is that too simplistic?

    165. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “I look at young people in Italy sitting in Bars and restaurants having fun without getting drunk.”

      Aye, well, it’s a bit easier to be cheerful in Italy when you don’t have to keep your hand over your glass of orange juice to keep the sleet out of it 🙂

    166. Roger Hyam says:

      Are you sure a Sheriff’s court can’t hand this kind of thing out already. They can ban you from certain places etc.

    167. Titler says:

      You miss the point, I think. Someone phones the police and says “That bastard Stuart Campbell is drinking in the pub!”

      The police tap a few keys, find that I’m not banned from drinking and say “Fuck off and stop wasting our time, pal.”

      Story over.

      It depends… were you drunk when you glued that lock, you ruiner of Bath’s delightful social grace and charming marble white vans, you? Because maybe now you are banned from drinking as well due to your previous life of alcohol related crime, you muddy funster.

      I should just point out to the non-Residents who haven’t read the linked article, neither of which were true at the time. The Phantom Gluer perhaps still roams the land, with his own sticky form of criminality. So don’t bother using it as evidence of actual criminality here. I’m using it to illustrate the flaw in this particular idea. If that example of what we now know as “Drive By Swatting” had stuck, and there was alcohol in Stu or anyone else’s system at the time the first accusation which you could be convicted for was made, you would be on the police database for alcohol influenced crime, and that gives others huge power to yes, call from the pub and strike you a second time.

      Especially if Plod was a UKIP type rather than the relatively decent ones you ran into that day, and wanted to send you down rather than get up and answer the call to tackle some genuinely violent person in a pub.

      Or, as it was put more eloquently in Robert Bolt’s “A Man For All Seasons”;

      “William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!

      Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

      William Roper: Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!

      Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!

      Don’t get me wrong, I’m not some foolish libertarian. But I do think the laws we have should be sensible ones. They should certainly allow for mercy and rehabilitation. And the state should also have to prove its case each and every individual time anew, and only bring out past behaviour at the time of sentencing.

      That they can database is fine. That it’s automatically ratcheting into harsher sentences is not.

      And here I’ll take a risk; and I invite you all to consider for yourself what crimes you could be convicted of under the increasingly Orwellian UK system… Piracy maybe? For instance, the changes in laws on pornography now mean that, were the contents of my own hard drive to be analysed, previously legal BDSM content would now see me facing jail time. Video of your girlfriend just sitting on your face, if it can be proven to be filmed in the UK, is also now illegal. Or if she squirts. And you can’t claim “a drunk person downloaded it at a party” or even be seen to be drunk yourself in the home made video under this proposed law because you’d be adding anti-social alcohol use to the crime and thus triggering this law against you again and again…

      Which incidentally is why the Tories want to replace ASBOs with “Community related” initiatives. You know who the Neds are, right? You the “Decent” people of your land. So the law should be in your hands to strike them as hard as you feel you need too. And that automatically terrifies the shit out of me; yes I’d give the Devil the benefit of the doubt there, against all the blue rinsed angels of the world.

      Not that the people here are amongst them, natch. As I say, I’d trust you all to not make that call from the pub too. I hope I wouldn’t either, even when sometimes like the lady who died downstairs, I wish I had. Simple laws only work for the simplistic I’m afraid. Oh for a simple world though!

    168. JimmerFee says:

      As a Teetotalling, vegetarian, non-smoking abstinentist bore, anything to put me out of everyone else’s misery is fine by moi.

    169. george says:

      encouraging people to be rats? just how STASI do you want scotland to be? i’d rather live elsewhere

    170. liz g says:

      Kenney G @ 3.49
      Imaging releasing a violent drunken murderer into an environment where alcohol is generally available then expecting the community to not only know about it but police it.
      That would be group madness not social responsibility.
      What ever the answer to this problem is l doubt it’s more
      (Probably revenue raising) laws.

    171. Sounds like you could go to jail for buying a round without checking licences first for aiding and abetting an offence. or a wife buying for the house when a court order was breached by a person subject to the courts order. I can see many problems with the strategy which alas only education and a shift in public attitudes could work. Would it encourage more drug use and require additional legislation to counter drug I don’t know, Perhaps a start would be to curb advertising, like smoking whilst government earn through taxation I doubt progress is likely.

    172. schrodingers cat says:

      Friends of the Guinnless
      lol

    173. Thepnr says:

      I agree alcohol will be a factor in some criminal acts of violence but how big a part does it play? A violent person will still be a violent person whether they are sober or drunk.

      Just to put things in perspective regarding crime in Scotland. In 2013/14:

      Non-sexual crimes of violence 3%
      Sexual crimes 3%
      Crimes of dishonesty 51%
      Fire raising/vandalism ect. 20%
      Other crimes 23%

      The total reported number of crimes reported in Scotland has dropped from 483k in 2004/5 to 270k in 2013/14. Every single year in between, it has been dropping.

      I don’t favour additional restrictions on our civil liberties and that’s what carrying a drinking license implies.

      People who want a drink will get one regardless of a licence, youth who are not yet legally allowed to drink do it regardless. They would continue to do so and although I don’t have the figures to prove it I believe that most violent acts and vandalism ect are perpetrated by the under 18’s.

      Such a measure MAY reduce the incidence of violent crime though to what extent? I couldn’t even guess. I tend to agree more with others who have stated already that education is more important. Either that or prohibition, then again you just end up with the speakeasies.

      http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/0046/00469423.xls

    174. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Sounds like you could go to jail for buying a round without checking licences first for aiding and abetting an offence”

      Of course you couldn’t. Don’t be daft. The drinking is the offence, not the purchasing.

    175. Tom Murphy says:

      ha ha Rev, this is the busiest I have seen you publicly on the site.

      As for your idea, it’s as good as anything else I’ve heard. I may have fallen fowl of it a few times in my life!

      Now, after reading most of the comments, I can’t believe I no-one tried to enlighten @joemcg about his right wing “workfare” attitude!

    176. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Imaging releasing a violent drunken murderer into an environment where alcohol is generally available then expecting the community to not only know about it but police it.”

      Oh for heaven’s sake. We release violent drunken murderers NOW. We don’t expect citizens to police them, the police do it.

    177. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “encouraging people to be rats? just how STASI do you want scotland to be? i’d rather live elsewhere”

      I’m fine with people reporting crimes in progress, yes. Aren’t you? What if I come round to your house and rob you and someone sees me? Should they just turn their back and walk away?

    178. Famous15 says:

      Brilliant discussion!

      I have observed around the world heavy drinking,you might say self destroying drinking,in what once was stable,secure and confident cultures but now bypassed by “progress”. Australian Aborigenes,KALAHARI BUSHMEN,NATIVE Americans ,Innuites etc etc. alienation perhaps.

      People who feel comfortable in their own skin seldom abuse alcohol. Self restraint requires hope to win over despair. So my prescription is make damn sure hope triumphs.

    179. Muscleguy says:

      I think you firstly overestimate the ‘everybody knows thing’ you might be well known in a couple of pubs but unknown in others. You might similarly be well known here in the Ferry but pop into Dundee where the booze is cheaper anyway and you are anonymous. It’s only a bus ride away.

      You would also get the situation where perfectly law abiding middle class people get denied a drink with their meal because they forgot their license and the establishment, wishing to cover themselves legally insists EVERYONE shows theirs. This would gradually bring the system into disrepute and make it very unpopular.

      You know these things will happen. Ambulance chasing lawyers will ensure some establishments, almost certainly chain pubs for eg, will do this.

    180. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “You would also get the situation where perfectly law abiding middle class people get denied a drink with their meal because they forgot their license and the establishment, wishing to cover themselves legally insists EVERYONE shows theirs. This would gradually bring the system into disrepute and make it very unpopular.”

      For Christ’s sake, will people PLEASE actually READ THE SODDING WORDS?

    181. ClanDonald says:

      Would this initiative encourage aggressive and violent drunk people to spend more time drinking secretly at home around the weans?

      Ps. I like this soap box idea, it encourages everyone to think things through properly. IMO we don’t think things through enough. It’s threads like this that can change minds.

    182. A says:

      I think the one-size-fits-all approach to drinking laws in Scotland doesn’t really work. The comment above from Lollysmum is an example of a great model that would work in a very rural area like my home (in the remote glens of the Highlands, but a similar environment to Cornwall) but it would be harder to implement in somewhere like Glasgow or Edinburgh.

      Drink driving laws killed commerce out here for instance – all the local pubs/inns are shutting because nobody can drive to them anymore (we don’t have any kind of town/village here, just remote houses) and nobody rides horses or walks 5 miles for a pint these days so what can you do. People routinely break the law in the Highlands as a result – it’s so common the police can’t crack down on it. Minimum alcohol pricing might work out here where people generally earn enough to cope, but do they work for a pensioner living in a scheme who’s never hurt anyone in their life, as you mentioned?

      I think before we try to implement this we need to do a better assessment of the ways this could affect all the areas of Scotland rather than just the places the lawmakers are familiar with because every time we’ve tried to do something like this it’s screwed somebody over.

    183. tartanarse says:

      Common sense bomb folks.

      “can’t we just tackle all social problems etc……”

      Yes, lets get cracking with that(as soon as we are independent, not long to go now…).

      First up because it’s dead easy, quick to implement and costs nothing, a drinking licence. This will greatly aid in the getting rid of all societies ills agenda.

    184. Macart says:

      Not a bad idea.

      That might have legs.

      My own pet gripe is the lying loophole for politicians (of any stripe). I’d like to see penalties up to and including loss of position and possibly court appearances. No more hiding behind parliamentary privileges. You mislead the public? You get caught? Then you and/or your party faces consequences.

    185. Famous15 says:

      Flower of Scotland!

      Someone please explain the words to me.

    186. Phronesis says:

      Having a forum to debate and consider issues is really good – other topics could be health inequalities and the social determinants of health which leads you a critique of economic policies . Understanding Glasgow and Glasgow Centre for Population Health are both very informative sites which provide interesting data that is relevant to today’s discussion.

    187. gordie mcrobert says:

      I’ll bevvy when I like

    188. KennyG says:

      @lizg 4.28pm

      As the Rev said, we already do release violent murderers, and the rest, into a society where alcohol is generally available and they are policed by the police.

      The point is, if any of these people were given life long drinking bans, as the courts had decided that their crime was alcohol related, or fuelled, or whatever, and that they were considered likely to be a danger to the public under the influence. The community would know that if this person was under the influence in public they would be likely to cause harm and could inform the police. The same reasons why you’d report a sighting of a rapist at large, or a drunk driver, would lead you to report someone whom the courts and police had decided was a danger to the public.

      I mean, what interest are the police going to have about a report saying wee boaby, who got a 2 week ban from drinking for peeing in the street is currently in an off licence?

      And what interest do you think they would have about a call saying big Tam, on a ten year drinking ban, following a 3 year sentence for glassing a guy in a pub, is drinking in a pub right now?

    189. Rigmac7 says:

      Stu,

      Good idea this soapbox thingammyjig. I like your idea and it has a lot of merits which would obviously be thoroughly discussed, reviewed, analysed, reviewed and finalised through a legal process involving lots of suitably qualified persons (with public consultation, nothing like the Smith nonsense).

      How’s the blood pressure with the half read critics? 🙂

    190. K1 says:

      What aboot the politicians and thier relentless subsidised pishedness…they cause criminal havoc with their imbibed decisions across the land…how about we get them asboed out of office. I’d happily phone the polis on them. Bring it on, turn it to our advantage.

    191. Donald says:

      The current system of benefits and income tax is far too complicated. How about a system where everyone gets a set of free things, Education, Healthcare. Then everyone gets a set living allowance(This must be enough to actually live off), and finally a fixed percentage rate on income, say 50%. Child benefit could be removed as children would get the allowance too(possibly at a lower rate). Unemployment benefit and the state pension could be removed too. The system would be much simpler to administer and there would be no loopholes or boundary conditions.

      Disability benefit could also be removed, as expensive drugs and equipment(and carers) would be healthcare, with living costs paid by the benefit.
      While your at it you could impose a maximum wage.

    192. Muscleguy says:

      @Rev Stu

      I did read the article and telling me to do so in no way constitutes a counter argument. Care to try again?

    193. Croompenstein says:

      Aw Stu this is brilliant you should do this more often your retorts are cracking me up…

      You could always try the wise woman from Blackadder’s answers to the problems of the drinking culture…

      1st…Kill yourself..Nah
      2nd…Kill all the alcohol producers….Mmmm
      and the third way would ensure no one would suffer from drink related problems ever again….great what is it

      Kill everybody in the whole world…

    194. Ricky says:

      Some of the comments here are a wee bit Dail mailish

      See what you’ve started Stu. 🙂

      Scotland has a drink problem – Fact.

      Something needs to be done but folk are listening and changing. Only a fool drink drives, many got away with for years. not any more because we all agree it’s irresponsible and dangerous.

      Education and a campaign to teach the younger ones about the dangers is the norm and over time we see a difference.

      This world is different from the one i grew up in. So treating problems with old and outdated methods won’t work. A new approach is needed. One that doesn’t encroach on peoples freedoms and rights.

      Our junkies get put on methadone . I have yet to meet anyone who has stopped drugs. meths is the legal heroin and many stay on that for years. I doubt it works but whats the alternative other than swapping one drug for another.

      We need new ideas and plans.

      Are Alcoholics victims ?? Whats the difference between Alcoholic and junkies ? How do we educate the next generation ?

      Think you stirred up a wee hornets nest Stu.

    195. KennyG says:

      @Muscleguy 5.23pm

      Read the paragraph that starts, now, hear us out. P6 I think it is. Just under the licence.

    196. Jeremy the lawyer says:

      Rev, an admirable plan but unworkable. The administrative and set up costs would be astronomical. There is also the issue of licensing restrictions on pubs, punishments for those who buy booze for the banned (like those for people who buy for underage drinkers). It also would have to have limited on alcohol for things like mouthwash, chocolates etc.

      Scotland relationship with alcohol is unhealthy but the answer is more complex than that. Were have many people who suffer seasonal depression because we never see the sun. Add in a depressant like alcohol and that just makes it worse. An argument could be made for legalizing something like ecstasy that would give us an alternative your to alcohols downer but what politician is going to suggest that (if any party).

      In my opinion the best, cheapest and biggest boost to the economy would be to legalize some kind of upper, regulate it and tax it. Were should also have drinking education in school much like sex education. If you don’t teach kids about sex is it any wonder they get pregnant at 16? The sane argument goes for alcohol. Don’t lecture them. Tell them it can be fun but had to be controlled.

      Anyway that’s my take on it but no doubt it also has numerous flaws

    197. George says:

      Rev. Stuart Campbell says:
      7 February, 2015 at 4:37 pm
      “encouraging people to be rats? just how STASI do you want scotland to be? i’d rather live elsewhere”

      I’m fine with people reporting crimes in progress, yes. Aren’t you? What if I come round to your house and rob you and someone sees me? Should they just turn their back and walk away?

      – it certainly would have been nice if someone had called when i was being violently assaulted, having my earlobe cut off with a stanley, and being threatened with having my throat cut in the middle of the street a few years back. oh wait they did. the cops turned up quite some time after the ambulance. they had a fair idea who did it, but since i was in no shape to provide a reliable witness statement there was no prosecution. in fact because i’d had a drink that night, they spent a lot of time asking me whether it was my fault in some way. the criminal justice system looks a lot different when you’ve actually had dealings with it.

    198. Al Dossary says:

      Love it – but how to enforce the ban ? Do we deny those banned from alcohol access to fruit, water, sugar and the natural yeasts that surround us in the air ?

      Just today had a rather nice bottle of lovely home made ginger beer, raw ingredients nothing more than ginger, water, sugar and some naturally occurring yeasts – the fun of being in a “dry” country.

    199. Devorgilla says:

      Control by state owned monopoly does work in Norway. I have been going to Norway for decades and read the local newspapers there. Don’t know where the poster’s uni friend got his information from, but I never read of drink driving charges. Or car accidents involving drink. Or of widespread drinking of imported moonshine. Maybe it’s a new problem affecting remote communities that don’t have Vinmonopols. I have heard Norwegians complain of Lithuanian and Estonian lorry drivers driving badly. Maybe it’s a new problem coming from these quarters that will require more policing and hefty fines.

    200. David Anderson says:

      Tired old journaliasm again Stu ‘the Old firm versus decent fitba fans’… Jeez o you want to give it a rest, you come across as petty and boring. The last article had several good comments re fans of the Old Firm and I agree that the constant focus is, at times, pointless. I am a Dundee fan and have witnessed many an idiot from both sets of fans in my hometown cause mayhem when they can get away with it, and as for Aberdeen fans… Either you are just on the windup or are just a belter that cannae hud his wheest at times. Give it a rest is my opinion, of which I most certainly am entitled. Other than that the idea is unworkable because arbitrary decisions would be taken by small minded people and the threshhold would be difficult to maintain unless nationally applied in a very strict process. WHich I doubt would happen.

    201. msean says:

      Don’t think I have seen so many replies from the Rev to so many posters on one thread before.

      The soap box defo works 🙂

    202. Chic McGregor says:

      I’d imagine any new jobs as Drinking Instructors would be pretty popular. 🙂

    203. annie says:

      Can we have a extra special punishment for Glasgow lawyers who tweet offensive messages while under the influence.

    204. tartanarse says:

      An actual licence is note required. It can be notional. If you ever get convicted of a drunken offence, then your licence can “begin”.

      Now it doesn’t matter if you are in the pub or whether your mate has gone to the offie for you. What matters is that if you are caught again pissed committing a crime, the penalty is more severe.

      No one can stop a drinkdriver or a banned driver from driving but if they get caught, worse outcome.

      It doesn’t have to cost a penny. A drunken criminal act will be attended and recorded the same as a sober one. No extra cost. Where do folks think the extra cost will come from?

    205. Bill Hume says:

      1. Keep up the soapbox work, because we, as a nation, need to examine ourselves closely and address the problems within our nation. Flag waving and the ‘Here’s tae us’ culture we are so addicted to, is not the whole story.
      2. I’m with the post re. Young people in Italy sit with an orange juice….not alcohol (I’ve observed the same in Grece).
      3. I’m also with the post re. hard to enjoy an orange juice whilst keeping the hail out of your glass.

      While I am enamoured of your solution, I feel there is something more fundamenal in the Scottish lifestyle which needs to be addressed…………..I just wish I could identify it.
      So, drink licence, not a solution but perhaps a pragmatic start.

    206. The Man in the Jar says:

      Day in, day out you hearin the MSM of some violent NED pleading in court that they were “High on a cocktail of alcohol and drugs” The modern equivalent of “Bad boy made me do it and ran away” Perhaps the Polis should routinely do some kind of test at the time of arrest to check the authenticity of this claim when it gets to court.

      Im with Rev.Stu on this and have been thinking along similar lines myself. I would extend it to other substances as well. But thats a very hot potato riddled with a level of hypocrisy worse than the indi debate.

    207. Albamac says:

      Happy Hours?

      Pub opening hours:

      11:00am – 2:30pm
      5:00pm – 9:00pm

      I don’t remember anyone being driven to despair.

      Laws: Fewer, fairer and functional (my preferred fiction)

      Justice: LOL

      For generations countless innocents have fallen victim to tyrannical powers encapsulated in four infamous words ‘Breach of the Peace’. How about a nationwide poll to discover how many Scots have been verbally abused, arrested, physically assaulted, falsely imprisoned and forced to stand, defenceless, in a courtroom while false charges, supported by manufactured evidence and the perjury of officers who conspired to pervert justice, were laid against them?

      I’m absolutely certain that most of them simply admitted guilt and paid a fine to avoid further disruption to their lives; decent people criminalised by a corrupt system and its minions.

      Picture this scene:

      Three friends spend an evening at the theatre. They’ve had a few drinks, they’re in good spirits and engage in easy conversation as they walk, through pouring rain, towards a taxi rank. They pass two police officers who are taking shelter in a doorway. One of the friends addresses them with a casual, friendly remark, “I wouldn’t fancy your job on a night like this, lads”. He’s moved on a couple of paces when one of the officers responds with, “C’mere you, cunt!”

      The hapless theatre-goer is about to be arrested but there are many witnesses and a crowd soon forms to protest. A car rounds the corner from the nearby police HQ and a senior police officer emerges to take charge. He soon realises that the scrambled egg on his hat carries little weight with those who witnessed the event. More plod than prelate, he arrives at a well-worn solution. The ‘offender’ is ‘let off’ with a ‘warning’. Now, with his permission, ordinary folk can continue with their lives and go about their lawful business while his officers return to their duties, protecting us from harm.

      The law is not an ass – it’s an asset. No portion of it is owned by those of us who are neither rich nor powerful and everything written into it is effortlessly set aside when it conflicts with their interests.

      I’m a quiet, law-abiding citizen who has suffered much greater harm than that depicted above at the hands of those who ‘uphold’ The Law and no power on earth can restore what’s been stolen from me.

      Frame, fashion and fictionalise laws as you please. During my sixty-eight years of participation in the ‘human experience’ I’ve never needed a law to compel me to avoid doing harm to others. I suppose I’ll go quietly, when my time comes, but I’m finding it ever more difficult to imagine a better world while our species persists.

    208. Natasha says:

      @David Anderson
      “petty and boring”
      Well, it takes one to know one, as they say. It’s surprising how many people keep reading and commenting on someone’s articles when they are so “petty and boring”.

    209. Chic McGregor says:

      Seriously, a points system for alcohol fueled bad behaviour is a good idea. It does target those with a particular problem.

      I think lighter ‘sentences’ for first offenders would make sense because presumably there is a learning curve/acceptance curve that each individual needs to go through.

      For example the lesson he should not drink as much as his mates would not be an easy thing for a young guy to accept, until it becomes evident.

    210. karmanaut says:

      O/T

      Jim Murphy is to speak at a summit on devolution organised by a conservative think tank, formed by the man who “inspired” David Cameron.

      http://www.respublica.org.uk/event/launch-respublica-core-cities-report-uk-devolution-summit/

      It’s in Glasgow, and it’s free, if anyone is interested in going.

      I’m curious to hear what they say. I’m guessing it will be along the lines of, “Wouldn’t it be better if we take power, somehow, away from the Scottish government?”

    211. jock wishart says:

      I think before any new laws get passed we have to match it with an old one to repeal .We live in a fine country, you get fined for this and fined for that.

    212. heedtracker says:

      “Some people are immune to good advice” Saul Goodman.

      How much do Scottish lawyers make from alcohol related crime? I know one spacecadet that makes a fortune from straight forward drug related court stuff like possession, who also enjoys the odd toot, but then its ok to get hammered though, just behave.

    213. Paula Rose says:

      Back in the day when one reached the age of maturity one would go to a hostelry with one’s elders and be introduced to the conviviality of it all – now one goes to a pub chain owned booze outlet and gets slaughtered with ones “mates”.

      I think the Rev is making several valid points – much of the problems we face are to do with people only looking after themselves and not caring about the welfare of others.

    214. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Tired old journaliasm again Stu ‘the Old firm versus decent fitba fans’”

      Oh piss off. As I’ve ALREADY SAID on this thread, the alcohol ban at Scottish football is SPECIFICALLY AND DIRECTLY the result of an Old Firm game.

    215. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Love it – but how to enforce the ban ?”

      The article explains how to enforce it.

    216. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “the criminal justice system looks a lot different when you’ve actually had dealings with it”

      I have. As an earlier commenter alluded to, I’ve been arrested and locked in a cell for hours and questioned before being released without charge. The fact that you were once victim of a crime and not dealt with as quickly as you’d like doesn’t seem to me to be much of a reason to oppose the entire concept of law and justice.

    217. Lenny Hartley says:

      I have thought for a while there should be some sort of iq test before issuing a licence to Vote.
      The idea of a drink license also makes sense , would probably affect the same people who would not pass the Voting test.

    218. schrodingers cat says:

      great idea

      we could start with the MPs and Lords who consume the shed loads of champers at westminster

      🙂

    219. Valerie says:

      Fascinating thread, and amazing what people reveal in their comments. I refer to comments about harassing up, lack of working class solidarity.

      I’ve been subjected to marital violence through alcohol, had an alcoholic father. Worked professionally in social services, trying to join up approaches to alcoholism, and more recently worked within Glasgow Children’s Panel system.

      I have spoken to various groups of Glasgow doctors who despair about the alcohol epidemic, and assert they cannot see any difference arising from all the education.

      I think there is real merit in the system described above, because something different has to be done. If someone wants to drink themself to death quietly, there is nothing can be done about that, it happens every day, and social housing providers know where they are, and often keep an eye out.

      As a society however, we have to start attaching some kind of stigma to being drunk and dangerous.

      I asked a first generation Italian work colleague why Italy is different, and she said because it brings shame to your family to be drunk in public.

    220. Paula Rose says:

      Yippee – Wings over Scotland – herding cats – hic!

    221. Dr Ew says:

      A fascinating and radical idea worth developing. My only real concern on reading your article and most of the worthwhile contributions above is that there may be implications for civil liberties from which long and complex litigation may ensue. I have a feeling the EU may have something to say about it, as they did/do with minimum alcohol pricing (which I support).

      I’d also like to suggest a relatively modest idea that focuses on some of the cultural and health issues that generate so much of our alcohol problems.

      The Scottish Government could invest to enable the establishment of young people’s coffee bars in every neighbourhood, open every evening until about 10pm. These would be social enterprises aimed at young people aged from (say) 12 to 21. These venues would offer young folk somewhere to congregate, perhaps local bands could play along with other cultural activities, and with opportunities for the teenagers to be involved in the management, health information and service sides of the enterprise.

      There could be other secondary health and social benefits, but the main point would be to offer young people somewhere safe and fun to go in the evenings (and daytime) as opposed to sitting in doorways (or graveyards or waste ground)drinking cheap alcohol.

      It’s not a quick fix and it would take time to roll out and develop and give the young people ownership, but the long-term aim would be to change the culture away from seeing drink as essential to socialising, and esepcially curtailing the back-of-the-bus-shelter Buckie drinking so prevalent throughout our towns and cities.

      Thoughts on this complementary social policy, folks?

    222. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Take alcohol out of supermarkets which use lakes of lager and cheap gins,voddies and alcopops as loss leaders.
      This is killing well run local pubs (in which the police and the authorities would prefer drinking to be done)and traditional licensed grocers

      Supply it through well ordered licensed grocers and local pubs instead. Neither of these have any interest in selling alcohol cheaply. The pub used to sell cairy-oots at the same price range as the draught beers and lagers which meant that sitting having a pint in the pub was no dearer than sitting drinking out of a brown paper bag in the park
      In many areas pubs have been for generations the local focus and loosing them is a serious loss to many communities.

      A significant element of the attraction of the pub is social interaction and oddly enough people with an alcohol problem are likely to actually drink less in a convivial and pleasant pub atmosphere than they do on their own or sitting in the park.

      There is no need for beers and lagers to be as strong as they now are (unless the object of your drinking is faster oblivion).
      Drop or remove completely excise duty on alcohol at 2.5% or less and increase it radically on the way up to make nasty cheap alcopops etc much dearer so that falling demand results in them being taken out of production.

      Many pubs are going out of business not only because of supemarket competition but because of long, staffed hours many of which are loosing them money. Close them in the afternoon and one day a week and allow them a maximum of two late licenses weekly. Whoever decided that pubs should be open 13 hours a day, seven days a week. No other business does this. Why is the supply of alcohol thought to be so essential.
      Publicans are unlikely to take this sort of sensible controlled operation themselves if the guy down the road doesn’t replicate it.

      We actually have a section of our society which lives from morning till bedtime in the surviving pubs,spending most of their limited disposable income in them. (We left that kind of existence behind in the 19th century we thought).They’d be better at home having plate of soup instead of a diet of beer,crisps and pork scratchings.

      The complication is the vast revenue the Treasury takes off alcohol which inhibits government enthusiasm for dealing with the problem. I have had a social club, a pub,a licensed hotel and a licensed general store. I figure a large majority of my turnover in the pub went to the government in tax and about half of my turnover in the hotel (cigarettes sales contribute very significantly also). Lowering alcohol levels in drink in anyway cuts government tax take.

      Like most communities in the northern latitudes we have an alcohol problem. It is not possible to prevent the production of it so controlling it with licensing is the only way to get some handle on it. For too long we have made it too easy and too convenient to get too much alcohol for too many hours a week.

    223. scunnered says:

      well I think its a great idea..im not a violent person but when I drink I become a total rocket..im now at the age where I know I cant drink without annoying people but if we had this idea in place when I was younger it would have saved me and a lot of innocent people out for a quiet pint a lot of grief..sometimes people need saving from themselves.

    224. George says:

      – and trying to win an argument is no excuse for misrepresenting what someone has said, or for being a cnut while doing so. john stuart mill put forward an almost identical idea on alcohol over two centuries ago and *it doesn’t work*.

    225. manandboy says:

      I should like some advice.

      My wife tends to drink her wine quicker than I do.
      This induces impatience when her glass is empty
      and mine is about one third full.

      I just thought in the context of the current discussion
      that my situation might be an
      appropriate one for the new ‘guidelines’.

      Already, I’m still on white,
      while she has moved onto red.
      Unfortunately, she is not as patient as Stu.

      Should I seek professional help?

    226. Paula Rose says:

      For many the only place where they could meet socially was the pub – a place where the water was safe to drink, a public house. As pointed out above, places that provide the social interaction without alcohol do well.

      We need places where we can meet, get to know each other and share ideas; drinks that include alcohol need not be a threat to this discourse.

      Policies have been introduced that stop this social interaction (e.g. tax regimes), it is not in the interests of the ruling elite to allow meaningful discourse – this issue (destructive, irresponsible, self-centred behaviour) is now to do with local responsibility and care for the wider community.

      I may be flippant in some remarks, but I recognise the need for an approach driven by real people rather than the false witterings of those who do not live in the real world.

    227. StopThe Nannies says:

      People must be able to make a free choice. Stop making things difficult for ordinary people. Folks like to smoke, drink,etc. What is it with do-gooders who want to take over control of their neighbours.

    228. Cactus says:

      Happy hours ~ Defintootley!

      I’ve always thought that ALL recognised drugs (whether legal or ill) should at the very least be classified. It’s not about the knowing of them, it’s about the quantifying of them.

      For example, imagine all different types of drugs were laid out on a table (let’s say they took the form of sugar granules) and the appropriate label and classification were applied to each of them.

      They all look the same, but have different effects.

      So:

      Class A = Illegal drug
      Class B = Illegal drug
      Class C = Illegal drug

      and introducing

      Class D = Legal drug (alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, WoS) 🙂

      The political shape of Scotland is changing dramatically in real time and so should we look to improve the negative aspects of our drinking alcohol culture.

      Like drinking alcohol (Class D), or having several cups of tea/coffee/red bull (Class D).. their consumption comes down to one of two things.. Usage or Abusage.

      Also, a friendly welcome to all new readers / commenter’s, love Scotland.

      Cheers, Monsieur Cactus xx

    229. shug says:

      I noticed the herald had an interesting artical about George Galloway complaining that on question time he was asked a question he was not expecting and he accused the BBC of trapping him!!
      Oh to a friend of the british establishment

    230. George says:

      ^ to manandboy: i’d recommend a good sommelier or vintner 😉

    231. Valerie says:

      Dr Ew, I like that idea too. A bit like the old style Youth Club?

      So many charities and local communities are trying to get young people involved in activities, and there are places they can go and just hang out, but I suspect they are not regarded as “cool”.

      Even tho’ my life has been marred by alcohol, I’ve always tried to be level headed about what is done by society to, or for people that are alcoholics. It just makes me very sad that I have seen and worked with the issues for decades in the West of Scotland, and I feel we aren’t that much further forward. There really is horrendous fallout that radiates out from the misuse of alcohol.

      I’m quite proud that the Scottish govt. has taken a very bold step with their new legislation of an appointed person for children, despite cries of nanny state and infringement etc., and being legally challenged.

      So many children live with alcohol and are just desparately suffering quietly, and this move puts the child’s welfare at the centre, be it alcohol or other issues.

    232. Thepnr says:

      These discussion articles seem like a good idea, though it does markedly show up the differences in opinion.

      I’m nailing my colours to the mast now, I’m totally against anything that means I need another piece of government printed paper or plastic in my pocket.

      Alcohol is a poison and an addictive poison. We have many addicts. Issuing the rest of the country with drinking licences is not the answer. At least in my opinion.

      How about tackling the problem from the bottom up? Same goes for drugs. Teach children about the effect of these poisons, not propaganda, just the plain truth. I believe it would help.

      In fact, I’m more concerned with the drug problem in Scotland and these are already illegal. There is no “drugs licence” required. Neither is their much help when someone has a problem.

      Most addicts are a victim of their circumstances and DNA rather than a bad person.

      We need more agencies with trained personnel to help those with addictions, not pieces of paper or plastic in our wallets that do nothing for anyone.

    233. Dr Jim says:

      I suppose this train of thought does demonstrate one definite, and it’s that it must be a nightmare for a politician to introduce and get a new bill passed whilst containing their anxiety and sanity as to why nobody seems to understand the proposition as originally conceived by the proposer
      Sort of AAARGH…

    234. geeo says:

      My plan is simple, ban liars from politics in Scotland.

      This plan could be easily implemented as soon as May this year.

      All you have to do is vote labour , the tory and the libdems out of office in Scotland !

      Job done.

    235. Here’s a idea, why not make the bar staff responsible for telling people when they have had enough to drink or that their conduct is such that they are refusing any further service. For those who can’t take a telling then the police could be involved and they could be barred from the premises. As is often the case it is often when the system gets ignored that problems develope.

    236. Albamac says:

      @Dr Ew

      The Scottish Government could invest to enable the establishment of young people’s coffee bars in every neighbourhood, open every evening until about 10pm

      The local cafe was the centre of teenage social activities back in the late fifties and early sixties. We played records, drank Coca-Cola, displayed our plumage and met girls. The proprietors were our friends, acting as if in loco parentis. We were happy in what was, to all intents and purposes, our own private space. There were no angry young men among us.

      There was never any mention of alcohol or drugs, access to the former kept beyond our reach and completely non-existent for the latter.

      We held ‘record parties’ in our homes where, again, we drank rather than snorted Coke, compared and played our record collections danced and took great enjoyment from those simple, shared pleasures.

      At the weekend we’d go dancing, usually at local venues featuring local bands and steering clear of the city centre.

      Romantic relationships were formed and flourished or faded in their own, sweet time. Boy met girl, they took time to get to know each other better and things progressed from there. Young women weren’t treated as disposables in the way that I think they are today and that may be related to the prevailing booze culture, amongst many other social changes. I don’t really know because I was a teenager, in a less complicated, demanding and dangerous world, more than half a century ago.

    237. Johnny says:

      This is not a criticism of Stu’s plan, which I think is a good one but I think that one cultural thing which still adds to the desire to get extremely drunk is that as a nation (though I am not saying this applies to everyone in it) we still want to get very drunk before we relax and open up to each other.

      As I say, not about Stu’s plan as such but an observation as to why we drink so much to relax or even to have ‘big conversations’ (again, I am not saying everyone does this, but some do). The person above who said people who drink do not feel happy in their own skin was onto something in this regard, although I do think some people just being drunk (it is, after all, a nice sensation).

    238. Davy says:

      I moved down to new job at Tadcaster N-Yorkshire in 1996 and stayed there for eight years, their was three brewerys in Taddy and a fair number of pubs.

      They had a very good way of dealing with anyone who abused drink and caused trouble in the pubs, the publicans would have a meeting every three months to discuss any problems their had been since the last meeting, the people responsible for the trouble would then be banned from all pubs in Taddy without exception for anything from a week or two or one to six months, to even a year or lifetime ban if required.

      A poster was produced with everyones name and picture if possible of who was banned and how long with dates and it was displayed in a prominite area at the entrence of each pub.

      I saw this in action a couple of times where someone banned had snuck in and got someone else to buy them a drink, as soon the publican caught on to what was happening, the person concerned had the drink taken out of their hand and immediately put out, their was no finish up your drink and go, it was drink removed and out.

      Their was very little trouble in pubs in Taddy. It was a good system.

    239. Kevin evans says:

      The only thing I can suggest is eductation as there is a part of me that doesn’t like the idea of puttin restriction on a choice.

      Now I say this with a lot of experience on the subject as I work with people with addiction problems.

      It’s a very very hard to find a compromise but what I can say is my daughter who is 14 is better educated on the subject of drug and drink abuse than my generation.

      That’s all I can think

    240. Johnny says:

      I see a few suggestions that the Rev said we should *all* be issued with physical licenses. I could be reading the article wrong, but I don’t think this was the suggestion – more that when someone has done harm, this would be result in a ban and notice taken if they drunk while banned?

    241. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Caesar!mac at 8.44

      Goodness. Do I know you? Sounds like it. I remember Billy’s Cafe on Paisley Road West (or Dirty Billy’s as it was known as he was rumoured to sometimes slap the girls that worked for him on the bot). Queues outside to get in on a Friday or Saturday night. One in, one out. Juke box. Three records for a shilling. Buddy Holly and the Crickets. Nice lassie over there. Can I get a seat close to her?
      Met the wife there. Grrrr

    242. Since time immemorial man and other animals have been getting high on some sort of drug or another for many different reasons so by trying to get people to spy on others who turn aggressive over overindulgence is not the answer.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5E5TjkDvU0

      Fruit Flies Use Alcohol to Self-Medicate, but Feel Bad about it Afterwards

    243. robertknight says:

      Alcohol above a certain ABV should be sold only from Government owned outlets as some Scandinavian countries do. That combined with a Licence required to purchase from said Govt. outlets would go some way to sorting our situation.

    244. MJC says:

      The concept in itself is a no brainer. As sound an idea as any ive heard and only targets the ones who need a wee or big nudge in the socially acceptable direction. Draft or not this is thinking of ways to deal with specific issues and people, i for one welcome the idea and would also recomend its passed and shared to those that may be able to do something with it.

    245. inverschnecky says:

      I like it, and the whole concept of online policy development.

      That said I would advocate the Nordic model, yes they have issues with moonshine, but they live an awfy lot longer than we do.

      What laws will get through holyrood or through the lobby minefield of the imperial capitol?
      Will they not weigh this in their scales of malice and conclude there is no profit for them or there chums?

      Post empire – the idea may have unexpected benefits to public health.

    246. cearc says:

      Cynical Highlander,

      That is fascinating, thanks.

    247. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Syrizas’ 40 point plan for Greece. Wow!

      http://www.hangthebankers.com/syrizas-40-point-plan-for-greece/

    248. Thepnr says:

      Third and last post on this subject. These types of law that restrict people’s liberty DO NOT WORK.

      The British government became concerned about the consumption of alcohol during the First World War. They feared that war production was being hampered by drunkenness. Other governments involved in the conflict were also worried about this problem. In August 1914 Tsar Nicholas II outlawed the production and sale of vodka. This involved the closing down of Russia’s 400 state distilleries and 28,000 spirit shops. The measure was a complete failure, as people, unable to buy vodka, produced their own. The Russian government also suffered a 30% reduction in its tax revenue.

      It was reported in The Morning Post on 14th March, 1916: “At Southampton yesterday Robert Andrew Smith was fined for treating his wife to a glass of wine in a local public-house. He said his wife gave him sixpence to pay for her drink. Mrs Smith was also fined £1 for consuming and Dorothy Brown, the barmaid, £5 for selling the intoxicant, contrary to the regulations of the Liquor Control Board.”

      http://spartacus-educational.com/FWWalcohol.htm

    249. lumilumi says:

      Hmm, interesting ideas from Rev Stu and commenters.

      I especially like the idea of making being “under the influence” not a mitigating but an aggravating circumstance in trials.

      Finland has a problematic relationship with alcohol as well. We’re in the northern boreal vodka belt. The state has tried several approaches, with varying success.

      After Finland became independent and the Civil War was over and building our independent country could properly begin, the Parliament passed prohibition in 1919. That lead to rampant smuggling, speakeasies, organised crime, glorification of alcohol, loss of revenue for the state and loss of respect for the national legislature and law enforcement bodies. In the 1931 referendum, 70% said YES to abolishing the prohibition (my grandparents voted NO…).

      After prohibition ended (1932) alcohol could be only sold in licenced premises (subject to all kinds of regulation) or the state-owned monopoly Oy Alkoholiliike Ab (“Alcohol Shop Ltd”, or “Alko” for short.)

      The next big change came in 1968 when low-alcohol (4.5% or lower beer or cider) was “liberalised” and could be sold in grocery shops/supermarkets, subject to local municipal approval. Even in the early 1990s some municipalities were “dry”.

      There used to be a limit on how much alcohol you were allowed to buy at a time. I remember how, in the late 1970s, my friend’s mum had a letter written by her dad in his capacity as the boss of a small company wishing to give a Christmas party for the half-dozen or so employees so that she could buy more spirits than would’ve been sold to an ordinary consumer.

      Even in the mid-1980s when I reached the legal drinking age (18) there were silly rules like if you bought a pint at the bar, you were not allowed to take it back to your table. If you sat at a table, you had to wait for a waiter to take your order and bring the pint to you.

      As 1980s teenagers, we used to joke about making beer available at “R-Kioskis” – a chain of newsagents selling papers, mags, cigs, snacks, sweets etc. through a hatch, ubiquotous at the time.

      But something was afoot. In the late 1980s we got our first supermarket-style Alkos where you could browse the shelves at your leasure. Before that you had to go to the counter and request whatever you wanted from staff that had seemingly been trained to look sour and disapproving. Pronouncing Chateau this or that was difficult so most Finns (if they bought wine, not spirits) opted for the Alko branded bulk stuff with easily pronouncable names. The self-serve, supermarket-style Alkos were meant to educate us and turn the beer/spirit drinking nation into a “civilised” “European” wine-drinking nation. It’s worked, to a certain extent. We drink more and more varied wine now. In addition to the beer and spirits. (Actually, spirits sales have dropped a little.)

      The collapse of the Soviet Union, Estonian independence and Finland joining the EU (1995) played real havoc with the old order. Suddenly our alcohol tax was slightly lowered, and beer became available in R-Kioskis, something we’d joked about in a “never gonna happen” type of way only ten years previously.

      Anything above 4.5% alcohol, you still have to go to Alko for, and 18-19 yr-olds can only buy under 20% stuff at Alko (they can buy and consume stronger drink on licenced premises) but otherwise it’s all very different from when I was young. Maybe there’s a tiny swing back the other way, more stringent laws on mild alcohol advertising were introduced in the beginning of this year. (Advertising strong – above 20% stuff – has always been banned except inside licenced premises.)

      The education aspect of state alcohol policy has moved from woo!scary/guilt type of moralising to more fact-based and “drink a glass of pleasant wine with good food” (and forgo spirits) type of thing. The total alcohol consumption (as 100% alcohol per head per year) has risen but maybe percentage-wise more of it is being drunk in the mild (beer and wine) sector. Being publicly very drunk is becoming less socially acceptable, though being a bit wine-tipsy is becoming more acceptable but only after the working day or on weekends. Young people still go out on weekends and get blootered but modern teenagers actually drink less than we did – statistically. Some drink a lot less, some drink more.

      Rev Stu’s idea of a drinking license is an interesting one but I think it’s practically and – more importantly – politically unworkable at the moment. But something needs to be done and it’s good to have fresh ideas to start a conversation and explore alternatives and their pros and cons.

    250. Jet Jockey says:

      Caesar!mac, @ 6.27
      If you go to http://www.scottishwebsites.com there are clear similarities with your comment.

    251. Gordie says:

      Let’s get pished

    252. Neil MacKenzie says:

      No way do I want to be dictated to about whether or not I can drink. We’re losing too many freedoms already in this God forsaken union. Tackle the causes and not the effects.

    253. Betsy says:

      The courts in Scotland can already impose drug treatment and testing orders on people whose criminal behaviour is linked their use of illegal drugs. In addition it is also possible for the courts to order people to stay away from certain areas, people and so on. I’m not aware of any of these measures having destroyed class solidarity, created a culture of grassing or brought about a police state.

      Alcohol is after all just another drug so I’m not sure why similar measures applied to alcohol related criminality are controversial. I’d certainly far rather see an individual subject to some sort of alcohol ban within the community than locked up in jail.

    254. Albamac says:

      Dave McEwan Hill at 9:03

      I remember Billy’s Cafe on Paisley Road West

      Mine was Amy’s on Langlands Road. No hanky-panky there since husband and wife ran the place together.

      Nice lassie over there. Can I get a seat close to her?”

      I remember worshipping a girl from afar, for ages, but I couldn’t summon the courage to talk to her. Then my pal, Jamie, told me that he and his girl had arranged for us to meet as a foursome. The cafe was divided into booths, each with two seats on either side of the table. When the great day arrived I was feeling below par because I’d had a cold and my nose was blocked solid.

      Anyway, we met and were getting on really well until Jamie cracked a joke, I laughed and a ball of solid snot flew out of my nose and landed on the back of her hand. My world lay in ruins! 🙂

    255. mogabee says:

      Stu. it’s your fault you know, putting up a picture of a license!

      Seriously, get this to an MSP, preferably one smart enough to “get it”.

    256. Murray McCallum says:

      I remember being a bit hungover in a Helsinki establishment very early one morning (a few days after setting out on our cultural tour) and asking for 2 “coffees”.

      We received 2 pints of Koff, looked in disbelief, drank them and went on to night club.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koff_%28beer%29

      The traps, dangers and energies of youth!

    257. Rock says:

      Rev. Stuart Campbell,

      “For most people alcohol is a harmless, even beneficial thing.”

      What exactly are the benefits of alcohol?

      Losing one’s senses and saying or doing something you should not be saying or doing in ‘civilised’ society.

      Spending money on something which could have been better spent elsewhere.

      I wonder how much child poverty and ill health would exist in Scotland if it was an alcohol free country?

    258. morgatron says:

      I have always thought that anyone sentenced to more than 5 years for commiting a crime should be made to run in a giant hamster wheel , which is connected to the national grid and providing Scotland with some free electricity. Then they really would be paying something back to society !! I think Smurphy will add this to his fantasy constitution.

    259. Rod Robertson says:

      IN UAE you need a licence and can only spend a % of your income on bevvy.
      Maybe a similar system in Scotland would work and curtail those of us who do not know when to say enough is enough

    260. Marcia says:

      Sunday Herald front page;

      https://twitter.com/newsundayherald/status/564191661967036417

      – health warning – contains a picture of James Murphy.

    261. Marcia says:

      The SNP seem to have been busy today up and down the country;

      https://twitter.com/SNPwindaes

    262. Thepnr says:

      @Marcia

      Well done all those SNP members who got out there today. I hope you can get even more of your members out in the coming weeks. You do have a lot “in reserve”.

      Entice them oot, we have a battle to win!

    263. Ian Brotherhood says:

      Hasn’t this been posted yet?

      The Housemartins, ‘Happy Hour’ –

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_TMUJIWwyI

    264. Robert Peffers says:

      One wee problem, Rev Stu.

      You state, “Booze kills vastly more people in Scotland every year than cars do, and we don’t let people get behind the wheel of a car if they can’t handle it, so why should a bottle of nasty cheap cider be any different?”

      So if someone, and I know a few, drinks themselves to death but is never a problem to anyone else – how to help keep them alive?

    265. ronnie anderson says:

      @ Marcia jist as weil you put a health warning wie that link,
      (look intae ma eyes) pmsl at photo.

    266. Thepnr says:

      Ian Brotherhood rides to the rescue. Thank feck.

      Great song, and the thread is getting boring now.

    267. Ian Brotherhood says:

      Just looked at the images provided by Marcia –

      Where’s the Gaavster, in the Ayr photies?

      Shout-out for the big guy – you there Gav?

      And where’s Alison ??(better known to many as the ‘wee wummin’ who gave Morphoid a total red-neck in Ayr when he was on his crates.)

    268. Marcia says:

      Ronnie

      Murphy plans to change his party’s name to Scottish National Party so he can win.

    269. lumilumi says:

      @ Murray McCallum 10.18pm

      Ha ha! 😀 Koffi – coffee.

      Some English-speaking friends of mine used to call it “cough-medicine”. Not because of taste but the pronounciation.

      All mainstream Finnish beers taste about the same, it’s all in the marketing/advertising image.

      When we were teenagers, we’d happily pay 10 pennies more for a bottle of Lapin Kulta (“Lapland’s Gold”) as opposed to other supermarket beers – oh, yeah, the price of supermarket beer was regulated so they all cost the same (the lowest allowed). Except Lapin Kulta, which was 10p (about 5%) more expensive – probably to cover the transport costs as it was actually brewed in Lapland back then and also as a marketing gimmick, which we fell for.

      To cover our embarrassment at having fallen for a marketing gimmick in our teens we in our twenties used to call Lapin Kulta “reindeer piss” and never drank it. 😀

      Incidentally, Foster’s was called “kangaroo piss” in Australia in the early 1990s among urban twenty-somethings. Nobody confessed to drinking it, said it was all exported, but it was still by far the best selling lager in Australia. I joked that people hid their Foster’s in wardrobes and drank it in secret.

    270. Paula Rose says:

      Actually all these neds need is half an hour bent over my knees and proffering their buttocks to my kindly administrations – problem solved Rev.

    271. Marcia says:

      This is one heck of a headline for a newspaper article;

      https://archive.today/2sYjS

    272. DERRICKBARKER says:

      When I grew up my dad drunk. Period. Only later in life, before I went to Iraq,and just before he died, he told me of his experience serving in Cyprus and Aden. My god, serving this empire. National service done him people. Army British = drink =my dad, and now probably me. I tell you this whilst sitting at a bar. Hippocrate or what?? ????

    273. David says:

      Marcia’s headline is from the Daily Mail, “The Tartan Stalinists: Forced sales of country estates. Snooping state guardians for every child. Contempt for the wealthy… and Britain. Fantasy? No, it’s the stark reality of an SNP landslide”

      A terrible article by Allan Massie, including the line – “It is estimated that 10% of Scottish jobs are in agriculture and activities related to it, such as shooting.” TEN PERCENT? I call rubbish on that, agriculture employs a lot less than that.

    274. Reider O'Doom says:

      Many will find it impossible to believe, but the problem is one of being a dependency.
      When people feel that their destinies are not in their own hands, when they feel helpless, then health and social problems abound.
      Independence will reduce Scotland’s abusive relationship with alcohol. Fact.
      If you have the time (and I know you’re a busy man) check out this book:

      Unhealthy Societies: The Afflictions of Inequality by Richard G. Wilkinson

      A second hand copy on Amazon is only a few coppers, and it’s a truly illuminating read.

    275. ronnie anderson says:

      @ Paula Rose stop touting for buisness on here lol,is the dungeon slow.

    276. Training Day says:

      I’m worried about the Duke of Buccleuch’s intervention agin the SNP appropriating his estate.

      Could turn a lot of people in Glasgow and Dundee against the SNP.

    277. George says:

      surely the great “project feart” can do better than this pish from murphy and massie? not that they’ll be believed regardless

    278. David Jardine says:

      G. P. Walrus at 1.00pm

      A good point worth discussion, although I would open the debate to travel infrastructure in general. I remember driving south from Edinburgh to Newcastle last summer, my French wife incredulous as to the A1 being the main road linking the capital to the south (but where is the motorway? how can you overtake slower-moving traffic?), while listening to Alistair Darling being interviewed on GMS, talking about pooling & sharing, and being better together.

      A high speed rail network would indeed cost a lot in capital outlay, but as you say it is an investment that would create jobs and develop an industry over a period of decades; the first TGV came into operation in 1981, and more than 40 years later they are still expanding the service, so I wouldn’t exclude other regional centers from the ambition. Why not Edinburgh-Dumfries in 25 minutes?

    279. Hoss Mackintosh says:

      @Marcia

      Yes for Labour !

      Murphy must be totally insane.
      And/or McTernan is totally desperate.

      Will the pair of them survive until May 7 th or will they be forced out by the worried SLAB MPs?
      The pressure is on…

    280. Hoss Mackintosh says:

      @Marcia

      Yes for Labour !

      Murphy must be totally insane.
      And/or McTernan is totally desperate.

      Will the pair of them survive until May 7 th or will they be forced out by the worried SLAB MPs?
      The pressure is on…

    281. Thepnr says:

      @David

      I just tried to post on that article but looks like I’ve been declined.

      What an arse, the point I wanted to highlight was this:

      This isn’t true of all parts of Scotland, I should add. The fertile estates in the Borders , where I live, rarely change hands, because they are not loss-making. Estates such as those of the Duke of Buccleuch, the Marquess of Lothian and the Duke of Roxburghe make a huge contribution to the social, economic and cultural life of the region. They offer access and provide employment for tens of thousands.

      What an arse licker!

      Marquess this, Duke that. Fuck off, We need none of you leeches, suck, suck, suck the blood of the ordinary man and give nothing in return. Your days are over.

    282. tartanarse says:

      Erm, did i mention that I was a ned that needed sorting. Paula?

    283. Ian Brotherhood says:

      Alan Massie’s latest pronouncements prove that he is a proper bawbag.

    284. Valerie says:

      That is one hateful, bile filled article from Alan Massie, Daily Fail.

    285. mogabee says:

      I do hope someone from Gigha responds to that crap in the Mail, absolute rubbish and so untrue.

    286. CameronB Brodie says:

      Us cats, what are we like? Cenrtainly filled a slow news day.

      My 79 year old mum wants all drugs legalised as she can’t get hold of the good shit. Naw, seriously, to stop gangsters making profit and to reduce harm by regulating the market, at least to an extent.

      http://m.spiegel.de/international/europe/a-891060.html#spRedirectedFrom=www&referrrer=

      P. S. Are the kids still sniffing glue and buzzing gass. The last time I was in Forres (2000 ish), the back lanes were littered with used bags. On asking, I was told this was the kids who couldn’t buy alcohol.

    287. heedtracker says:

      Marcia says:
      7 February, 2015 at 11:30 pm
      This is one heck of a headline for a newspaper article;

      Thanks Marcia, what a laugh this union is. Red tories sneered at and terrorised Scotland into voting NO and now we won’t vote for them.

      You’d need a sense of humourectomy not LOL.

    288. Valerie says:

      Around 1 in 20 Scots die an alcohol attributable death, from causes ranging from cancer to car accidents

      Worryingly Scotland has one of the fastest growing chronic liver disease and cirrhosis death rates in the world and women in Scotland are as likely to die of liver cirrhosis as men in England.

      Alcohol related death rates in Scotland are twice as high as in England and Wales and have doubled over the last 15 years

      11 per cent of all A&E admissions are alcohol related

      One Scot dies of an alcohol-attributable cause every three hours

      49 per cent of prisoners admitted to being drunk at the time of their offence

      It is estimated that 65,000 children live with a parent with an alcohol problem. Alcohol is a factor in 1 in 3 divorces

      More than 42,000 discharges from hospital and 100,000 GP visits per year relate to an alcohol-related admission

      *Taken from the Scot.Gov site*

    289. manandboy says:

      Re Allan Massie & Land Reform

      This is the answer:-

      http://www.andywightman.com/archives/3029

      “In the first of a two-part series in the Scottish Field magazine, James Hunter, a former chairman of Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Emeritus Professor of History at the University of the Highlands and Islands, sets out the case for land reform. This Guest Blog is the unedited original manuscript submitted to the magazine. The published version contains minor edits for reasons of space and is available as a pdf here.

      The case for Land Reform
      Professor James Hunter
      According to sales particulars issued by selling agents Knight Frank, the new owner of the 28,000-acre Auch and Invermearan Estate in Argyll can look forward to getting a guaranteed £12,000 a week from the taxpayer by way of agricultural subsidies and recurrent forestry grants. (3.8Mb pdf sales brochure)
      Long unquestioned, such hand-outs to Scotland’s super-rich lairds (and you have to be super-rich to afford Auch and Invermearan at an asking price of £11.4 million) are starting to attract both media and political attention. Reacting to the Auch and Invermearan figure (incautiously revealed by Knight Frank at a point when social security payments are being capped and jobless young folk forced to live on £56.80 a week), the Daily Record commented: ‘Something is rotten in the landed estates of Scotland.’ Glasgow Labour MP Ian Davidson was equally forceful, labelling landowners, as the Record headlined, Scotland’s ‘greediest benefit claimants’.

    290. tartanarse says:

      Training Day

      I’m born and raised a Dundonian but haven’t lived there for twenty years. Despite this I’m willing to bet my life savings that not one single vote will be lost due to the duke of Buccy. In fact I doubt if even one Dundonian has even heard of the guy.

      In fact, if you explained who he was I expect the already massive SNP vote to increase.

    291. K1 says:

      Massie should be ashamed of himself touting that absolute pish about those of us choosing to vote for a democratically elected party. Fuck him. He’s preaching his propaganda to the bigoted. It’s all they’ve got now, this man is a dangerous stirring ("Quizmaster" - Ed). Hehe.

    292. Training Day says:

      @tartanarse

      I disagree. Many people hang on the Duke’s opinion. Could be decisive in my view.

      Sometimes I wonder if the Rev is howling in a vacuum.

    293. ronnie anderson says:

      Massie scraping the bottom of the barrel 1st it was nazi nats noo its stazi nats he,s jist pissed he canny caw them Massie nazi stazi nats.

    294. Paula Rose says:

      ronnie anderson honey xxx

    295. G. Campbell says:

      I’m sure this is just an honest mistake and not a deliberate attempt to stir up the English.

      Allan Massie, Mail on Sunday, 8 Feb 2015: “They hope to exasperate the English to such an extent that eventually they will tell the Scots to clear out – even though 55 per cent of us voted to remain part of the United Kingdom. As Salmond, defeated in September but hoping to return to the Commons as an MP, charmingly put it, he hopes ‘to hold England’s feet to the fire‘.”

      Alex Salmond, 19 Sep 2014: “We now have the opportunity to hold Westminster’s feet to the fire on the ‘vow’.”

    296. Thepnr says:

      @Valerie

      That was a long list of the problems of alcohol. Didn’t see any advice that offer solutions 🙁

      Right listen closely. I have personal experience of trying to get help for someone with a drug problem. It is a long hard road and didn’t even get anywhere.

      I THINK THAT THIS IS SHITE THAT ILL PEOPLE CANT BE LOOKED AFTER

      Never mind the SG or the Uk government, we are shite at looking after people. I am depressed, my brain ready to explde. Fight back. please.

    297. Another Expat says:

      Training Day

      I love your sense of humour. The title of Duke of Buccleuch was created by Charles II for his illegitimate son, the Duke of Monmouth. The Duke of Monmouth/Buccleuch was later executed for trying to seize the crown from James VII. Put it this way, Bonnie Dundee was on the other side.

      I’m with Tartanarse here. Born and raised in Dundee but been away for a very long time. First I ever even heard of Buccleuch was when I went to Edinburgh Uni and got told I had tutorials in Buccleuch Place. Couldn’t even pronounce it never, mind know there was some posh Duke somewhere.

    298. CameronB Brodie says:

      Thepnr
      Remind me to give you a kick up the arse the next time. You care, we care, and it goes on like that as much as we can share it. All we need as a nation, is an equal chance and tthe right tools. And I’m not talking about unionist politicos or lunatic hacks. 🙂

      What do you call yourself again?

      Extreme inequality and lack of social mobility, coupled with a psyche screwed over for generations, won’t heal over night. Espcially without the correct therapy. We’re getting there though.

    299. KennyG says:

      Fukin el, some posts are longer than the article. Ain’t nobody got time fo that!

    300. K1 says:

      It’s true, we are getting there.

      Not all of us from backgrounds immersed in alcoholism fall into the same pattern. It’s the hopelessness that disappointment and lack of insight combine to fuel, that drives so many to the bottle or the needle.

      We need our future more than our past to define who we are. Is this not what we are really about; to care more than our disappointments, our hurts. To transform the lead weight of our history into our golden opportunity.

      Compassion is the key, self and others.

    301. Tackety Beets says:

      Ach Jeeezo too pis&&d to read the posts and too p&&&ed to comment !

      Fair doos Rev , seams like a plan .

      I noticed you posting a fair bit , eh distinct avatar ! Well done .

      I have been well behaved tonight , home to my own bed .

      When are you setting up the Wingers Singles club ……? Only joking !

      Aye it’s a sair fecht Whilies !

      On Policy ;

      My target would be to address City/Town centre rates > reductions and out of town rates up a bit to balance it .
      I have seen the demise of SME due too influx of the usual multiples in our towns and cities eg Comet , who run at a loss but forced all their SME competitors out of business over time . These SME. Are often family run and disappear for ever , never to return . With corporates the real money goes to Head Office , whereas Local SME a much greater percentage is spent locally .
      Public Contract Scotland on the outset look like a great idea . I can confirm that the reality is a costly caper ! Particularly if Public bodies are not able to support their local SME Value on a product only applies / measured on the full life of a product . Eg Product purchased from timbucktoo saving £10 goes wrong whilst under warranty > it cost £20 to return to Timbucktoo where as the local SME is on you door step ?
      Raise the pers Tax to a level so that those on ” Living Wage ” still do not pay Income Tax assuming they work 37/40 hour week .
      This enables a reasonable pay packet for those that do work .
      Remember those like us at the bottom spend it all to provide for our family , this helps the overall economy . Etc etc .
      These are possibly not what you had in mind so I’ll call it a day .

      Rant over ! Cheeeeeers !

      Mair drink ! IMO !

    302. The Man in the Jar says:

      I must be the only “Winger” with a lot to thank “His Grace the Duke of Buccleuch” for.

      According to family history my Gt. Gt. Grandfather (a coachman) met my Gt. Gt. Grandmother (a housemaid) while in service to the Duke at Drumlanrig castle. 🙂

    303. George says:

      to thepnr: i’ll keep fighting, make sure you do too 😉

      on the booze licence: i’ve had a chance to think about it now, rather than just react.

      – j.s. mill thought of the booze licence first (i think), but he was borderline insane after what his dad and bentham did to him. we are living in bentham’s panopticon right now and i don’t see it making many people happy

      – a booze licence won’t work, unless you’re willing to treat problem drinkers the way sex offenders are treated now, with home visits, work visits, shopping and bank accounts monitored, tags etc.: as someone pointed out – unlike heroin – people can easily make their own (even in gaol).

      – even then it probably won’t work because of dependency. people who are properly alcohol dependent would need to be given alcohol in the same way a heroin addict gets methodone

      – so how are actual concerned citizens supposed to tell when someone is legally or illegally under the influence?

      – i say ‘actual’ because it’s a given that most of the reports will be from busybodies and curtain twitchers, not to mention malicious troublemakers

      – and i thought having the populace turn against and inform on one another was more of a tory policy, or a relic of the old soviets

      – i’m sure a minority in the criminal justice system would like the licencing idea, because as crime rates fall they need something to keep them in a job. the majority would see it as a distraction

      – so what to do? take a couple of generations and do the job properly. i’m going to nick all my ideas from other posters

      – have an inclusive society that doesn’t demonise people, not even those that have to turn to chemicals to get through the misery of their lives

      – look at what works. that means france, where there’s none of the ‘right of passage’ nonsense associated with booze, and girls don’t need boys to jump into the offy for them

      – give kids somewhere to go. not even for the sake of anything in particular, just for theirs

      – the pub used to be a place for men to escape from the house. that’s changing but it needs to change faster. there’s no reason that ‘pub’should mean ‘men getting drunk’. let the kids in, serve food, serve tea, have a games area

      – think about extending this thinking to *all* chemicals, not just booze. even the fascists in the states are starting to realise they got it badly wrong, on drugs and addiction both

      – remember that cultural shifts take time. don’t let some squealing pig standing at the trough of a newspaper like the (scottish) daily nazi try to tell people otherwise

      – cultural changes don’t work for everyone. try to be kind and understanding of those for whom it doesn’t.

    304. ranald dods says:

      I’m sure Mr Murphy would be delighted to have one of these. After all, he’s a man of the people and I’m sure would lead by example.

    305. Macart says:

      ‘Yes for Labour’?

      Murphy’s gone fucking tonto.

      This man has spent the past several years trashing Scotland and othering Yes supporting voters. He used every opportunity to deride, demonise, lie, insinuate and smear.

      Sooooo the plan is to remind 45% of the electorate of one of the most painful memories of their lives, remind them of his establishment’s strategy and attempt to steal the last vestige of their collective identity. This in an attempt to cash in on their progressive popularity and vitality is his way of attaining mass appeal? That’s the plan?

      Master stroke.

      FFS, how callous, ignorant and insensitive do you have to be?

    306. Duncan says:

      This is very close to an idea I’ve been ranting about for some years. Nice to see it being openly discussed. A few differences though; I would include class b drugs along with drinking as recreational persuits that required you to enjoy responsibly. Rather than solely looking at punative measures for abusers, I’d like to see a preventative system whereby your doctor is able to place an advisory on your record if it’s clear that physiologically you just can’t handle it like most others. This would be a guide to help people understand their limits, some people are just crap at drinking and some find their daily wind down best served by smoking a joint. Treated maturely as a health issue which needs education and guidance will I think vastly reduce the extremities. Chemists could administer weed with known thc levels which would be appropriate for ind users. Also a rewards scheme for non abuse for best behaved.

    307. Illy says:

      Why not make it a physical lisence that you have to carry?

      You already theoretically have to show “proof of age” to buy alcohol anyway, and a lot of places have gotten themselves a policy of carding *everyone* as a matter of principle, so the youngens don’t feel picked on.

      I also remember that when I was a kid, I could go to the pub and have a drink, and no-one cared as long as I didn’t make a fuss. I think I was about 14 at the time. Some people are mature enough to handle mood/perception alterers young.

      I’m going to write up something much longer, that I hope you’ll post some week.

    308. Strak says:

      Alcohol is fun for some and/or just pure escapism for others . When we address the social problems in society I personally think it would make a big difference.

    309. Conan_the_Librarian says:

      Tt’s a nice idea.

      But.

      The logistics of implementing it would probably drive the cost of social drinking so far up that only the Bullingdon Boys could imbibe.

      Or students.

    310. Alwyn ap Huw says:

      Wales also has a serious drink problem, as do many regions of England; weirdly if you look at a regional map of the UK the areas with the worst records of public drunkenness and drunken crime are the nonconformist areas where the temperance movement was strongest 100 years ago, Scotland, Wales, Yorkshire, Lancashire, Cornwall; its almost as if we are giving the finger to our TT grandparents!

      But the areas which cost the most in NHS terms are not those like Glasgow and Swansea where the p – heads are seen on police camera shows falling over on fally over juice to our delight and News of the World type disgust; the major health problem comes from middle class, middle age “decent” folk who drink 2 bottles of good quality wine, every night with their dinner. Your licence won’t touch them!

      If you want a licence to increase life expectancy in Glasgow and Merthyr, forget the pop have a licence that says if you were born before 2000 you are not allowed to buy tobacco, so that the age restriction on fags “grows” with the age of those who possibly haven’t started smoking yet.

    311. Tamson says:

      “Yes for Labour” is exactly the kind of provocative shite I would have expected from McTernan and Murphy.

      There’s an element of actively goading SNP supporters going on here – particularly those recently converted from being die-hard Labour types who will be easier to provoke. It’s all tailored into making the SNP seem extreme (wouldn’t be surprised at all if Massie is in on the tactic), and therefore frightening enough voters back into the “safe” Labour fold.

      This is stuff looking for the wrong sort of reaction folks, don’t rise to it.

    312. Tamson says:

      “particularly those recently converted from being die-hard Labour types who will be easier to provoke”

      BTW that was meant in the sense of “as they aren’t used to seeing this tactic from the other side, or not even aware it’s a Unionist tactic”, not that they’re naturally angry or foolish people!

    313. Wp says:

      MSM running scared of a 23 year old lassie. Smear is the only weapon left when you have no argument.

    314. Wp says:

      Correction, Mhairie is only 20.

    315. Dorothy Devine says:

      That is a truly disgusting article by Massie.

      Was he not trundled out as a ” don’t know /haven’t made up my mind yet” churnalist during the referendum?

      Is he attempting to out Cochrane Cochrane?

      I do hope he realises that his comfy life in the borders may become a tad less comfy , as he has insulted a great number of folk. But perhaps he only mixes with the landed gentry and other like minded journalists who specialise in denigrating Scots , Scotland ,the SNP and very particularly Mr Salmond – the man I’d like to see sue the arse of every one of the aforementioned.

      I thought the “media of Scotland” had sunk as low as was possible – Mr Massie has proved himself to be an expert in limbo dancing.

      U

    316. john king says:

      George says
      “encouraging people to be rats? just how STASI do you want scotland to be? i’d rather live elsewhere”

      Ether your Massies little helper George or the word stasi is the buzz word of the week!
      ____________________________________________________________
      Paula Rose says
      “Yippee – Wings over Scotland – herding cats – hic!”

      Thank GOD I cant get mine in for her tea! HOLLY OH HOLLY.
      _________________________________________________
      mananadboy says
      “Should I seek professional help?”
      YES
      speak to TESCO.
      _________________________________________
      Croompenstein says
      “Aw Stu this is brilliant you should do this more often your retorts are cracking me up…”

      Ive got something in the back that might interest you,
      wait there,
      rummage rummage mumble crash,
      ah here it is, a nice long sharp pointed stick
      just the thing
      now if you poke the Rev with that he might just explode
      its been nice knowing you croompy. 🙂

      Caesar!mac says
      “Anyway, we met and were getting on really well until Jamie cracked a joke, I laughed and a ball of solid snot flew out of my nose and landed on the back of her hand. My world lay in ruins! :)”

      I,I,I, dont know what to say.
      Oh Caesar!mac…………

      I HATE YOU,
      my porridge you idiot my porridge!
      _______________________________________________________
      Training days
      “I’m worried about the Duke of Buccleuch’s intervention agin the SNP appropriating his estate.

      Could turn a lot of people in Glasgow and Dundee against the SNP.”

      Are you effing serious?
      how many people do you know wake up in the morning worried about the chookie Buccleuchs well being,
      don’t get me wrong I have no ill will towards the good Duke but I don’t see his animosity agin the SNP influencing the average voter in Glasgow or Dundee, please tell me you were being ironic? you were weren’t you? you little devil you.
      __________________________________________________
      David says
      “I call rubbish on that, agriculture employs a lot less than that.”

      Turns out he’s right on that David the NFU say one in ten jobs (65.000)in Scotland are in agriculture, however Id like to know just how many of those jobs are in purely shooting estates
      http://www.nfus.org.uk/farming-facts

    317. gillie says:

      Tories and Labour have created back channels and are talking to each other about possible deals post election.

    318. caz-m says:

      Mhairi Black has been chosen by the SNP members of Renfrewshire Paisley South to represent us in the 2015 GE. She will have the full support of all these members to kick Douglas Alexander into the political wilderness.

      Talking of the little rodent Alexander, I was in Morrison’s yesterday and to my surprise, sitting inside the store on the other side of the checkouts, alone, was Mr Alexander.

      I reminded the wee shit that he better start looking for alternative employment in May.

      And was Alexander breaking any rules when he was clearly campaigning INSIDE Morrison’s?

    319. Shaun says:

      It’a an interesting idea, there is actually a more effective way of monitoring an alcohol ban on an individual. An ‘alcohol monitoring bracelet’. It works in a very similar way to a ‘curfew monitoring bracelet’.
      1% of alcohol consumed is secreted within sweat. The ankle braelet samples sweat in the skin and in turn sends a signal if it detects alcohol.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-28567279

      Originally used in America, they have more recently been used in London and I believe they either are, or are being considered, in Scotland. They are utilised in conjuction with other bail conditions at the moment. An additional condition of bail may be that a person does not consume alcohol, and so an ankle bracelet would be fitted to enforce this condition.

      Possible applications in the proposed idea.

      (Apologies if this has already been covered, haven’t absorbed(!) every comment entry)

    320. No no no...Yes says:

      The proposal is a good starting point for a realistic and practical approach to a blight on society.Like independence, its a long journey,consider the outcomes.

    321. caz-m says:

      If David Cameron and the UK Government needed reminding that they are insignificant and irrelevant in global affairs, then look at who is involved in the Ukraine peace talks:

      Ukraine
      Russia
      Germany
      France
      United States

      The UK nowhere to be seen. That is why the BBC are trying to under report these talks. They can’t get their heads round the fact that the mighty Brits have been relegated to a second rate Nation.

    322. Kalmar says:

      I like it, in principle. However, I think even matching 1000 more police than the SNP propose might not be enough. Also could you imagine the howling about nanny stateism if this were ever seriously proposed by a government? I think you probably can.

    323. galamcennalath says:

      gillie says:
      “Tories and Labour have created back channels and are talking to each other about possible deals post election.”

      I would expect so! If a bus load of SNP MPs arrive post May, Lab & Con are going to have to get together to freeze them out. There is no way Middle England would tolerate rebellious Scots having influence in ‘their’ parliament.

      In an ideal world, a large democratic representation from Scotland seeking the sensible devolution of powers, as per the wishes of their electorate, would be listened to.

      In the world of WM, they will be outlanders, seeking to upset the cosy establishment apple cart. They never meant ‘better together’, we Scots were never actually expected to participate.

      I see none of this as a bad thing, ultimately.

    324. ronnie anderson says:

      Danny Alexander on Murnghan

      Conservatives to the right

      Labour to the left

      LibDems, the rock of stability

      Whits the song. Oh cock of ages cleft for me.

      Ah wud hey uased the dick word but naebodys wrote the song yet.

    325. Andrew Martin says:

      Any chance a few of us could post some comments on Massie’s piece on the mail online website.

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2943915/The-Tartan-Stalinists-Forced-sales-country-estates-Snooping-state-guardians-child-Contempt-wealthy-Britain-Fantasy-No-s-stark-reality-SNP-landslide.html

      Massie talks about Fantasy…..

      How about his fantasy on how many are employed on estates in the Borders…

      The fertile estates in the Borders , where I live, rarely change hands, because they are not loss-making. Estates such as those of the Duke of Buccleuch, the Marquess of Lothian and the Duke of Roxburghe make a huge contribution to the social, economic and cultural life of the region. They offer access and provide employment for tens of thousands.

    326. gordoz says:

      Labour : ‘Never mind the truth – vote Labour’ !!

      What’s that line about the definition of madness ?

      https://twitter.com/scottishlabour/status/564356210468864000/photo/1

    327. Cod says:

      Ok, first off, let me reply to Joemcg, who says:

      I know it’s a right wing policy but my bug bear is people who have not worked for a lengthy time or even people who have never worked and seem to have chosen this as as their life,keeping getting hand outs every fortnight

      The problems with that statement are numerous, but let me pick just two:

      1. “people who have not worked for a lengthy time” is not a homogenous group. Like any other grouping there are differences between the members of the group. In this case, there are differences between the reasons for being in that group, the circumstances which led to it, the factors for remaining in it, etc, etc, etc.

      To tar an entire group of people with a tag is to smooth over and ignore the granular reasons for that group existing in the first place, in order to be able to lambast the existence of the group, without any actual reasoning or socially aware policy for dealing with it.

      2. As someone who works in the third sector, I can tell you, for a fact, that the number of people who “have never worked” is a drop in the ocean, in per capita terms. It’s an idea Tory and UKIP (and increasingly Labour) politicians like to trot out in order to justify their atrocious policies towards the poor. It’s just like the oft quoted “three generations of the same family who have never worked”, which, of course, turns out to be utter nonsense, or the idea that dozens of families would be affected by the benefit cap in Scotland because they have loads of kids and cost the councils thousands of pounds (that number turns out to be about a couple of dozen, at most, across Scotland).

      That said, there are some, few, people who have never worked, who actively choose to not work (which, of course, is the key phrase which separates them from the rest of that group). There are freeriders in any system, and in a system specifically set up to not be an insurance system, but an available to all regardless of contribution, it’s inevitable. Ask any economist, and they will tell you the same.

      The problem is, that any system you put in place to deal with freeriders punishes everyone else much more, and the freeriders will always find a way around the system. Unless you are proposing to give people no money at all, in which case you would end up hurting far more people than the vanishly small number of freeriders.

      As for people who have not worked in a lengthy period of time, perhaps it might be a better idea to address the reasons why that is the case, rather than simply issuing a blanket punishment / strategy (depending on how you word it)? Doing anything else is the moral equivalent of sweeping the problem under the carpet. Putting people into workfare programs or inflicting increasingly draconian punishments on people, which, in the main part, do nothing much to help the problem, is not a solution. Many of the reasons people have no work has nothing whatsoever to do with them, and everything to do with politicians, the policies they pursue, the laws they allow, and the at times Faustian deals they strike with companies and other financially supportive bodies.

      As a thought, in 2011 – 2012 the spending in Scotland on JSA was around £461 million, and Incapacity Benefit was around £500 million (in fact, the largest spend areas in the benefits budget, as they have been every year, are pensions and in work benefits). Now, ask youself how much tax avoiding companies have cost Scotland in the same period of time – and which is the bigger problem?. Of course, only one of those groups has the money to spend to ensure the situation remains conducive to them.

      I was going to make a comment on the OP too, but I seem to have written more than I had intended in the above reply, so I’ll limit myself to saying that Scotland (along with the rest of the UK) already has one of the highest incarceration rates in the EU, which costs a fortune, both in economic and social terms, and measures which add to the numbers of those incarcerated are unlikely to help, particularly when those measures propose to place people in facilities which are already overcrowded, costly, and known amongst those who inhabit them as breeding grounds for crime. Perhaps some kind of non-custodial punishment would be a better idea?

    328. Cod says:

      Dammit, I meant to include this link in my previous reply, with regard to the unemployed and how much they cost, etc:

      http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/voters-brainwashed-by-tory-welfare-myths-shows-new-poll-8437872.html

    329. Training Day says:

      @johnking

      I thought I was being ironic, but the Duke’s just sent his gillie round to take a potshot at me, so he’s had the last laugh 😉

    330. Grouse Beater says:

      Macart: Murphy’s gone fucking tonto. This man has spent the past several years trashing Scotland

      Correct. Labour might have stood a better chance at gaining credibility had they nominated an unknown face to front their about turn, ‘Scotland is good after all,’ campaign, someone without anti-democratic baggage.

      Labour deserves oblivion for sticking Murphy back in the faces of its supporters.

    331. john king says:

      Training day
      “I thought I was being ironic, but the Duke’s just sent his gillie round to take a potshot at me, so he’s had the last laugh ;)”

      Dried peas?
      our local fairmer fired dried peas at us fir pinchin his neeps. jings it wis sair when they hit ye oan the erse

    332. HandandShrimp says:

      Saw a link to the Daily Mail piece by Allan Massie. It isn’t a place I would normally go but it was an entertaining read. I think it fair to say that Allan doesn’t think the SNP are Tartan Tories 🙂

    333. Chitterinlicht says:

      Think most important the is to get people out of poverty and give them hope and self confidence. This I’ll taken time, money and education.

      Appreciate this does not deal with middle classes etc

      Been thinking for some time that one of the best things you can do for your country is take better care of yourself and not use up scarce NHS resources until you need them.

      Falling like prices can be balanced by reduced spending eg on NHS.

      The Scottish celebration of our unhuealthiness needs to go as the only people it harms is ourselves.

    334. Effijy says:

      caz-m says:
      8 February, 2015 at 10:00 am
      If David Cameron and the UK Government needed reminding that they are insignificant and irrelevant in global affairs, then look at who is involved in the Ukraine peace talks:Germany, France, Russia
      ……………………………………..
      I would expect the Tories to send in the Light Infantry and re-live the Battle of Balaclava. For Empire & Better Together!
      Great courage shown by the elitists in sending in their representatives to be slaughtered.

      Half Wits, Half Cocked, onward
      Into the valley of death
      rode the unenlightened.

      Someone had blunder’d:
      Theirs not to make reply,
      Theirs not to reason why,
      Theirs but to do and die:

      Well worth it all to let Westminster show the world they have
      the finances and bodies to throw away in any corner of the world

    335. Murto says:

      Alcoholism, like (other) drug addictions, or other addictions, is a behaviour, not an illness

    336. Helena Brown says:

      Chitterinlicht, I think that so many people end up using what ever crutch pulls them out of misery, some people take Drugs, others drink some eat far too much and I would say that does not only work for the poor, it is very much in evidence in nice middle class homes where people come home and open a bottle of wine as soon as over the door. I have has bosses who finally noticed they were drinking a bottle of sherry a night or a couple of bottles of wine. Trouble is the youngsters causing trouble in the street are visible evidence of a country which is not happy.
      We did a River Cruise last year, lots of wine with lunch and dinner, not one drunk. In Cologne they serve beer in 200ml glasses, like test tubes, they eat with their beer. Never saw a drunk but I did see pubs full of happy people of all ages. We seem to have left the streets and the Pubs to the kids. Yes we need to start looking after ourselves but sadly people feel they need to live for today and certainly I can understand it because the future looks bleak. Might not have been so bleak had they taken it upon themselves to have voted the right way, and in that I mean the middle classes.

    337. terry says:

      @Famous15 says:
      7 February, 2015 at 4:39 pm
      “Brilliant discussion!

      I have observed around the world heavy drinking… Australian Aborigenes,KALAHARI BUSHMEN,NATIVE Americans ,Innuites etc etc. alienation perhaps.People who feel comfortable in their own skin seldom abuse alcohol.”

      Spot on. I’ve long wondered if Scotland’s drinking reflects an underlying sense of alienation and despair – of a people who know they are relatively powerless. I’m convinced that when we get indy, alcohol abuse will decline for that very reason. Empowerment leads to confidence and less reliance on alcohol.

      That aside the ideas in this post are really interesting and could be very effective. Although it would deal essentially with the problem of violent, aggressive drinkers it would also send out a message that would enter public consciousness – and thus contribute to prevention as well.

      I wonder if any political parties or pressure groups will take it up and run with it?

    338. Effijy says:

      Please forget what it costs for those on benefits!
      Look at the largest problems on the horizon, the Large Corporations like Starbucks, Google, Apple, Amazon, Boots, etc,etc

      If these guys paid what the owed HMC, we would have another £12 Billion to support the NHS, Education, Welfare, Transport, etc.

      Then we can move on to the mega rich individuals who move £Billions off shore to avoid paying tax.

      Why do you think that no Labour or Tory government tackles these
      people above? Could it be that they get a nice cut for maintaining the status quo, or are they playing this same game?

      I’d love to know more about the charities set up by Blair and Brown in heir own names. The 15,000 plus registered charities don’t seem to be enough for these guys, if it’s good works they are after. It is recorded on line that our very own G.Brown Gravy Train manages to take out £10,000 per week out of his charity,
      for expenses! Don’t you just love socialism in this form????

    339. Fred says:

      Jakies are not what they used to be alas, the abandoned bottles in my locale tend to be Chardonay rather than Buckfast these days!
      O Tempora O Mores!

      Regarding Buccleuch, don’t ever forget folks that pre-war the then duke & his brother were practically wearing jackboots, the so-called earl of Glasgow was a foaming at the mouth Fascist and “Taxi for McLetchie’s” faither ditto.
      They weren’t the only ones either.

    340. George says:

      all of labour party policy, today: ‘we’re taking the word “yes” back’.

      if it wasn’t so appalling i’d laugh ’till i shat; even the diehards must be taking a look now an’ thinking, like macart said:

      “murphy’s gone fucking tonto”

    341. Michael says:

      I think having a discussion on the topic is a good one but am less impressed with your idea.
      Does making a problem relationship with alcohol, one which is serious enough to result in law breaking, illegal in its own right really address the root cause?
      And what is the root cause? In Scotland we tend to use alcohol to get absolutely blootered and we celebrate that. Not just the neds with their bottle of buck or cheap cider but almost everyone from all walks of life will wear a hangover almost as a badge of honour. We need a grown up relationship with alcohol and I firmly believe that we don’t get a grown up relationship with anything because we legislate against it; it is combination of a myriad of influences including cultural, social, historical and even political ones.
      I know it probably isn’t much in the grand scheme of things but I have always thought the best way to improve this nation’s relations with drink is to have a good time with my children and demonstrate that even if I drink enough to not be driving I don’t need to have so much that I smack my loved ones about or fall unconscious into a gutter covered in my own vomit. Taking some of the mystery out of alcohol at an early age helps avoid the sudden teenage rush to down as much as you can in as little time as you can. Obviously with teenagers there are always lines which have to be crossed just to find out they were there in the first place but I do think it is important to “normalise” moderate and sensible approaches to alcohol and that isn’t done through legislation alone.
      Please don’t get me wrong, I think that your idea has merit for tackling the symptoms but it can’t tackle the cause. Thanks for an interesting diversion.

    342. wee folding bike says:

      For the avoidance of doubt this web page helps identify real bat shit rather than Mr Murphy’s special kind of crazy.

      http://www.batsintheattic.org/poop.html

    343. Macart says:

      @ Grouse

      His attempt to high jack and and subvert the YES branding to bolster his vote, considering his particularly toxic referendum campaign, is tantamount to simply rubbing peoples faces in the result.

      You’d think he was inviting the prospect electoral suicide.

    344. Stoker says:

      Marcia says:
      “This is one heck of a headline for a newspaper article;”
      https://archive.today/2sYjS
      ___________________________

      The article is also littered with lies and Massie should be reported to the press complaints watchdog IPSO:
      https://www.ipso.co.uk/IPSO/index.html

      Lying bastard Massie invents a deliberate misquote to support and reinforce his racist anti Scottish shite.

      Since Marcia posted that link yesterday i’ve been doing a shoogle on google, just in case i missed something, and NOWHERE can i find Alex Salmond EVER stating that we will “hold England’s feet to the fire.”

      He does, however, state very clearly that we will “hold Westminsters feet to the fire.” One word of a difference but with ENTIRELY different connotations and meaning.

      There is no point in people just moaning about lying turds such as Massie, they should be exposed and reported at EVERY opportunity.

      This is about our countries future well-being and those who are hellbent on preventing our progress MUST be held to account.

      Their credibility should be called into question, exposed and destroyed.

      The Mail should be instructed to issue a correction AND public apology.

    345. john king says:

      Terry @ 11.58
      I couldn’t agree more Terry, people who have a low self esteem tend to alcohol more than others and the low sense of self esteem in the people who voted no was obvious, they (in many cases) themselves said we couldn’t survive on our own,

      A low opinion of their own country must surely lead to a low opinion of oneself as well.

    346. Fred says:

      Mine’s a Glenmorangie! 🙂

    347. crazycat says:

      @ Dorothy Devine (9.16)

      The journalist who pretended to be a Don’t Know was Alex Massie, who is (I think) the son of Allan Massie who wrote the offending/offensive article in the Mail on Sunday.

    348. Senlac88 says:

      I hate it when this happens! I came up with this exact same idea years ago and muted it to a few friends, but nobody will ever believe that now! Haha!

      Although in fairness, my idea did include a physical card, issued to everyone when they became 18 years of age (bit like everyone gets their national insurance card) and this would need to be swiped at the bar or supermarket before alcohol could be purchased.

      Anyone who was banned from purchasing alcohol would have this automatically flagged up on the system when the card was swiped and they would not be sold.

      In these circumstances, buying alcohol for someone who has been banned would also be an offence in the same was as buying alcohol for a minor.

      All in all, there would obviously be initial costs to implement, as far as issuing cards and ensuring a system all licenced premises could connect to, but it would certainly make it a lot easier to track.

    349. @ crazycat says:
      2:15 pm
      @ Dorothy Devine (9.16)
      Allan Massie was a definite Conservative/Unionist/Oxbridge No voter who writes Historical fiction.
      The son Alex writes fluff pieces for various rags and according to today`s Wiki `He is a supporter of the Scottish Labour leader, Jim Murphy`.

    350. Captain Caveman says:

      Oh man, this article (and the totally one dimensional, simplistic thinking that lies behind it) is to my mind so wrong-headed that I barely know where to start. It is a prime example of the Hard Left and its total inability to even remotely see past a perfectly laudable objective (upon which all decent people would agree to be desirable), and just to consider for a moment the possibility of the likely unintended consequences of their fast and loose playing with people’s freedoms and liberties.

      For a start, the entire premise of the argument is wrong:

      “Booze kills vastly more people in Scotland every year than cars do”

      You’re conflating health deaths through alcohol misuse with antisocial alcohol-induced behavior – cars kill vastly more people each year than those killed through alcohol related assaults (not that this makes these anything less than despicable, mind).

      “Cost of implementation is almost nothing”

      You’re having a laugh, right? The public sector cost of creating, maintaining and updating an entire new class of sub-criminal record database, for every adult member of the population would be “almost nothing”? Poppycock, pure and simple. How many tens of billions of hard-earned tax revenue has been spunked to date on public sector/NHS database/IT systems this last decade, only to end in failure? This is statement is naivety incarnate.

      For me, however, as a libertarian and liberal-minded chap, the worst aspect of all is this:

      “If you lose your drinking licence, nobody would try to monitor you. BUT, if anyone saw you drinking alcohol, they could call the police, and if they came round and found that you’d been imbibing you’d be immediately arrested and subjected to whatever sanctions the law decreed – fines, community punishments, and finally imprisonment for severe or repeat offences.”

      Right, so we’re seriously talking about an Orwellian scheme whereby “good citizens” shop their fellow citizens for sipping a vodka lemonade… that’s just ludicrous, I can’t believe you’re serious? That’s not a country or society that I want to live in, how utterly ABSURD. (Oh, and so much for “next to nothing” costs, by the time you factor in the huge additional police, blood testing and courts resources required to operate your police state system, the vast possibilities for overt abuse whereby people falsely “inform” on others they don’t like etc.)

      Look, like I said, we can all agree that people who get violent and assault others when they’ve had a drink are scumbags, but clearly this isn’t the way to deal with it, or anything remotely like it. You dismiss out of hand others’ observations that Italy and France don’t have this problem (apparently this is down to “sleet in your glass”), and yet, like so many other areas where we fundamentally disagree, there are important empirical lessons that could (and should) so easily be learned.

      For a start, these countries are far less phobic about alcohol; there kids are drinking thimblefuls of red wine at family meals from age 6, and yet the norm here is to zealously prohibit alcohol until well into teenage years; kids go from absolutely zero to ‘complete free for all’ in the space of a few months, as opposed to being gently and sensibly introduced to alcohol, in a safe and correct context, over many years. I could go on, but clearly there’s an important cultural dimension and much room for improvement as regards parenting. (And of course, they’re drinking red wine, with food, and in moderation over a long time period – they are not slamming down 10 Aftershocks in half an hour…)

      We often think of Spain, France and Italy as being very tolerant about young people drinking, which they are – but things change very, very quickly if said young people start to get too loud or cause any trouble whatsoever (in stark contrast to the UK). Young people are trusted with the responsibility to drink but they know that at the very least they will get thrown out of establishments if they overstep the line and most likely suffer a brush with the (much harsher than our own) Continental police.

      So basically, in the long term if only we could bring up our kids to be more like the Europeans in “Cafe Culture” countries that we all admire so much, the problem would be reduced at source. Similarly, our pub and club landlords (and police) also bear significant responsibilities in managing and preventing the problem – how many times in the UK do we see totally pissed up, loud and semi-abusive people not only not being thrown out, but still being actively encouraged and served? This is all common sense stuff; we don’t need a network of informants and another layer of drug law enforcement.

      Finally, it has to be recognized that each of US, as individuals, have a duty of care to ourselves, for our own safety. Like I say, I am no apologist whatsoever for violent drunkards but, at the end of the day, if WE are stupid enough to go into a pub full of baying arsehole football supporters singing IRA songs, or some dive of ill repute with bouncers at the door etc., then in my view we cannot be entirely surprised if things go awry?

      I’ll end with an anecdote. Many years ago, when I was 30 or so, the wife and I went to this absolute dive of a pub in the small northern town where we used to live. You know the kind of place; big fishes in small ponds syndrome, packed to the rafters with the sort of nasty little tossers who would never be tolerated in Manchester or London. Cut a long story short, I got jumped at the end of the night for no other good reason other than I was a big guy, totally pi****d and ended up being battered (I had just started a new job and had the embarrassment of going round the office with a plum of a shiner for the next 2 weeks, looking like a thug – nice)

      The police turned up and took my wife and I home. I was blubbing on about prosecutions and the rest, and the young copper turned round to me and said no-one was going to be prosecuted and he didn’t care one iota that it was completely unprovoked, because I SHOULDN’T HAVE GONE THERE, LESS STILL TAKEN MY WIFE. He looked at the nice little home we had at the time, raising a young family, and actually gave us both – me in particular – a right royal bollocking. I resented it at the time but he was, of course, completely right: if you willingly enter a place like that, whose nature is absolutely obvious from the first 30 seconds, then you’ve only yourself to blame.

    351. terry says:

      @John King

      I totally agree with the points you have made too. Harry Burns sums a lot of these things up in Bateman Broadcasting – http://batemanbroadcasting.com/glasgows-health-challenges-sir-harry-burns/

      Alternatively there’s the more musical take on it by Pulp – “COMMON PEOPLE” – says it all,

      “You’ll never fail like common people
      You’ll never watch your life slide out of view
      And dance and drink and screw
      Because there’s nothing else to do.”

      That’s what I loved about the Yes campaign. There IS something else to do now and that is, the puropose of making this land a better place for all.

    352. Thepnr says:

      @Captain Caveman

      I have to say I would never have thought I would find myself agreeing with a post of yours. But there you go, I do agree with much of what you say, though not all.

      The “Hard Left” statement is a bit of a misnomer, could just as easily be labelled as “Hard Right”.

      Funny old world, eh!

    353. I like the sentiment behind this argument and a good healthy debate about a topic that really needs a solution.

      I spent a long time advocating for the smoking ban so have 16 years experience in a related area. We didn’t banning smokers (a population group) the ban affects smoking in specific places. It is the behaviour which is banned rather than the person.

      When we look at alcoholics and drinking licences the argument of “It’s an honourable attempt to try to solve a complicated problem however it doesn’t recognise the fact that some people become addicted to alcohol (alcoholics) and have lost the power of choice” isn’t valid. Alcoholics haven’t lost the power of choice to go to their GP, go to Alcoholics Anonymous and seek other forms of appropriate help. There is no loss of choice there, and an alcoholic remains an alcoholic even if they are dry. We aren’t penalising alcoholics in this debate, we are targeting a behaviour pattern of licence breaking and that to me seems just as valid as a football season ticket holder and football addict having their season ticket withdrawn because of anti-social behaviour. The addiction may remain, but the likelyhood of the addiction inflicting a problem on others is reduced. Thoughts?

    354. Paula Rose says:

      Thepnr darling – we are going to have so many disagreements – mwah mwah.

    355. Captain Caveman says:

      @Thepnr

      Hey, stranger things have happened; contrary to popular belief I am not a complete bell. 😀

      But seriously, yes of course, it goes without saying that the same (indeed more) could be said of the Hard Right. From my POV, my principal criticism of the Left is summed up by the oft-quoted phrase “The Road to Hell is paved with good intentions”, ergo no matter how well intentioned, unintended consequences typically arise that are at least as bad, if not many times worse, than the specific ill that they are trying to address. (I mean seriously, a coordinated mass government sponsored, citizen-led informant regime…? If that doesn’t send a shiver down the spine, nothing will)

      However, if the Left is (in my opinion) likeable but ultimately incompetent (supremely so the more extreme the flavour thereof) – then the Hard Right is invariably and without single exception pure, unadulterated, white-heat evil incarnate.

    356. Paula Rose says:

      Well Captain Caveman – thank goodness we don’t let those Scots choose for themselves what they should do.

    357. Captain Caveman says:

      @Paula Rose

      Hey, come on. Yeah I’m a unionist, made no secret of that fact, but I certainly wasn’t suggesting or alluding to anything like that in my waffling post above, in fact I totally avoided any reference whatsoever to the Indy debate here. (Stu said this was a soapbox debate entirely outwith the Indy debate, which is why I fancied having a bash)

    358. Thepnr says:

      @Captain Caveman

      My principal criticism of the Right is summed up by the oft-quoted phrase “The Road to Hell is paved with good intentions”

      You see what I done there? I changed your word “Left” to my word “Right”.

      What difference did it make? None, both statements are bullshit. We need less bullshit politics and more action.

    359. steviecosmic says:

      Have to agree with Captain Caveman.

      To keep it short, I grew up in an alcoholic family, in an area where there were many alcoholics and a hell of a lot of alcohol related violence. The problem wasn’t the alcohol, but the individuals, their history, and their parents history.

      I live in Greece now, after 37 years in Scotland, things are different here. I spent a long time on the road with a band and saw a lot of drug taking and excessive alcohol ‘use’. People, including myself, had clear choices. Everyone has a choice to make. Almost everyone I know from childhood, my peers as it were, are dead from drug abuse. I honestly reckon it to be 20% or so surviving. Everyone has a choice, and I sincerely dont mean that to sound callous or hubristic. My brother was an addict for 15 years, had umpteen strokes and is now utterly lost to me. I know the cost of choices.

      Here in Greece, where there is a drug problem to be sure, there is no alcohol problem. If you see a pissed guy stoatin’ af the walls in Syntagma, it’s not a Greek, it’s probably me. I drink way too much, way too often, and often try to defend that in terms of Scottish culture, class and history. I know as well as anyone that it is a clear choice on my part. And I say that as a self confessed borderline alcoholic. I might not be even good enough to be a full blown alcoholic.

      You just dont see it here. It exists, as it exists in every country in the world, but not in anything like the way it does in Scotland. Greece, as you know, has more social problems than most places right now, but alcohol isn’t the go to fix the way it is in the UK and particularly in Scotland.

      The attitude towards booze cant be fixed by punitive measures resulting from bad behaviour. That doesn’t fix anything. Laws already exist that cover this, and clearly they have not been effective. Core attitudes towards booze need to change, and that’s a very very difficult thing to do.

      My apologies if this has been said already, no doubt it has, but I couldn’t read through +300 comments.

    360. Jean-Loup says:

      Ok it’s an old thread and most likely all this has been said before but I would like to point out a few things anyway.

      As interesting as the system is, it fails to tackle one essential issue which is that alcoholism is typically a symptom of a much larger problem. You criminalise someone’s access to alcohol, and you risk opening the doors for something worse like hard drugs.

      Alcohol has a very high addiction factor, the only people who would manage being barred from drinking with no visible side effects other than being a bit grumpy are the occasional drinkers who did something stupid at a party. Do we even know the drinking habits of the troublemakers are the football stadium? Shouldn’t we try to understand what drives them to violence and recklessness?

    361. BobD says:

      So this creates a snoopers army of neighbours watching neighbours to see who is drunk. Stasi tactics. And how would I know if the person next to me had lost their licence to enable me to report them?

      The extra tariff idea is a workable one however.

    362. This is actually far more workable than most of the nay-sayers are claiming.

      Setup cost would be basically nothing, police already check if anyone they come across is wanted on a warrant or if they have current bail conditions. The gist of Stu’s argument is that a drinking ban would work like another bail condition.

      Police cars all have breathalysers set to the new drink drive limit (ie basically nothing) plus anyone detained is already breathalysed when they arrive in custody so the required kit is already in place.

      If we treat alcohol as an aggravating factor in any crime then the picture is complete. So if assault gets a certain sentence, assault whilst intoxicated gets that plus 10% or whatever.

      It’s not a “nanny state” solution at all, it’s treating alcohol as an aggravating factor and punishing accordingly.

    363. robertknighht says:

      As already the case in some Scandinavian countries, alcoholic beverages over 5% ABV should only be sold from Government owned outlets, where the purchaser must show a photo I-D ‘Alcohol Licence’ in order to purchase.

      People convicted of crimes where alcohol has proved to be a factor, including drink-driving, domestic abuse, public order offenses or who enter voluntarily into an Alcohol Awareness programme as part of a sentencing for specific offenses can have their Alcohol Licence suspended. Such licences should only be issued to those over the age of 21.

    364. robertknight says:

      Should’ve said, suggestion only applies to off-sales. Over 18s can continue to drink in licenced premises as under existing legislation.

    365. Actually, it probably doesn’t even require that much police involvement beyond adding the breathalyser result to the crime report when it’s sent to the Procurator Fiscal.

      The judge then just has an extra factor to consider when sentencing, along with previous history and other aggravations. Give judges the power to impose drinking bans and we’re done.

    366. Captain Caveman says:

      @Thepnr

      Very briefly, no, I don’t think your substitution of Right for Left works, because whereas the Left concerns itself first and foremost with the lot of ordinary working class folks as a priority, the Right tends to prioritise business and wealth creation, figuring that if government gets these right, wealth & tax revenue will be created and benefits for all will thus ensue. Point being: the Left’s good intentions, which I have never questioned, unfortunately tend to have unintended side effects that are the diametric opposite of that which they, and most of the rest of us for that matter, would want.

      That’s a whole new discussion for another day no doubt; it’s merely my personal opinion and certainly contentious. I suppose from my side of the political divide, one only has to think of how people endlessly told me that UK austerity would never work, yet here we all are with a vigorously growing economy that’s already bigger than pre-2008 crash and massively outperforming most of the rest of the Western economies? Or the other side of the coin countries like France, Greece etc. following left wing practices certainly morally sound – creating jobs for people in the public sector where these are not generated by commerce, paying people decent pensions and benefits and all the rest, but sadly ending up as economic basket cases.

      But like I say, another discussion for another day no doubt.

    367. Captain Caveman says:

      That said, I can certainly agree with your sentiments re. the need for metapolitical, pragmatic solutions and firm actions beyond the same old Left vs. Right mantras, though.

    368. tartanarse says:

      Wee red squirrel

      Precisely. Most folks have been trying to overly complicate it. Do we shop folk in pubs etc… that’s all bullshit. A criminal record isn’t physically owned by a person and neither does this license have to be. It is simply another entry in the already existing computer/filing system and wont cost a thing.

      Basically its a harsher sentence for folks who repeatedly offend whist drunk.

      I don’t get what people don’t get about it.

    369. john king says:

      Its people like you Captain Caveman who give the UKOK movement a bad name,

      Didn’t you know your not meant to have a sensible and respectful discussion with those yes nutters?

      Dont be a stranger! 🙂



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