These are all givens unless you're paid to come up with absurd 'science' - peer reviewed by your chums - which is about as grounded in real life experience as a lion, a witch and a wardrobe.
However, if you shop at Marks and Spencer, the Scottish government wants to assure you that you won't be affected by minimum pricing or a ban on drinks promotions. You see, their 'meal for a tenner' deal offers wines usually in the region of six or seven quid accompanied with a main meal, side dish and dessert for just ten roundel nuggets. That could be seen as a discounted drinks promotion and/or selling alcohol beneath the minimum price, no?
Well, no. Because, fearing the headlines, the SNP's Nicola Sturgeon boldly stepped in to protect M&S customers (who, a cynic might say, tend to be more likely to vote than those who shop at Aldi).
I also have concerns about the part of the amendment that relates to meal deals, which we know are available from some prominent supermarket chains. We have all taken the view that we should encourage people to eat when they drink. Indeed, when the cabinet secretary was questioned in the chamber, she said that she did not expect meal deals to be captured by the bill.
I am on record—and I will go on record again today—as saying that it is not our intention to ban the Marks and Spencer’s meal deal, for example.So that's all right then. If you offer food with the alcohol, Bob's your uncle, you're exempt!
Since there is no law on minimum food pricing (yet), you can imagine the consternation if other supermarkets began to sell one of their store-made deli pizzas along with a slab of Carlsberg for 1p over the minimum unitary alcohol price, can't you? It will handily bypass the regulations, as would substituting the pizza for a microwave spag bol ready meal or two.
Likewise, if Cameron is to head off the inevitable 'Mr Angry of Tunbridge Wells' criticism which would result from a ban of the M&S meal deal, his wrong-headed crusade to install minimum pricing will have to involve intricate and absurd policy exemptions and loopholes (and junk science, natch) of heroic proportions. I dunno, perhaps the food may be required to reach a fixed level of nutrition. Tuscan mixed bean risotto is encouraged, but a not pack of Birds Eye burgers . Or maybe only certain alcohol will be 'acceptable' to be offered with it? Chablis OK, Strongbow not? The mind boggles.
It's almost like they're storing up future legislation to busy themselves with - paid for by our taxes - in the unlikely event that the EU allow them to proceed in the first place.
Well, they're going to have to blame something when it makes bugger all difference, aren't they?