This is a quick blog in response to a comment in the previous posting regarding the SNP Government's proposals to tackle problems with alcohol consumption in Scotland. I had planned to write a longer and more considered response, but I've only got 5 minutes before I need to catch a train.
First of all, I think it's ridiculous that we have got to the stage when we need to consider measures like this. After all, the vast majority of us enjoy the odd alcoholic drink without any problem. But I also think that, as a nation, our relationship with alcohol has become so problematic that we need to start looking at more radical action.
We need to change our attitude towards alcohol as a nation, but that doesn't happen overnight. And while availability is not the root cause of the problem (I could walk into the shop across the road right now and but all the alcohol I could carry, drink it and then most likely end up in hospital, but I CHOOSE not to), it is helping to fuel binge drinking - particularly among younger people. And governments can't change cultures overnight, but they can take steps that will help to begin to shift attitudes over time.
The SNP's proposals may not turn out to be universally popular, and I am open-minded about the arguments for and against these specific measures, but I think some credit is due for at least putting this on the agenda and for making some tough decisions about it too.
I'm sure if somebody had suggested these measures when I was a student, I would have been outraged too. But on reflection, I did drink more alcohol than I should have at university and no doubt unwittingly put myself in danger because of it too. Drinking vast amounts of alcohol and drinking to get drunk has become a social norm in Scotland, and a right of passage for many young people. But this is not the case in other countries, and I think people in Scotland deserve something better.
Right, I am ready for the backlash!