Monday 6 June 2011

You Silly Sods!

Via Belinda, it would appear that someone at the Scottish Licensed Trade Association has spent too much time sitting in the sun recently.

Here's the facepalm lunacy as reported by the Sweaty Daily Mail:

Supermarkets would be forced to charge a minimum of £10 for a bottle of wine under plans outlined by Scotland's pub bosses yesterday.

The Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) has urged ministers to dramatically hike alcohol in a bid to save bars from closure.

Its proposed £1 a unit 'minimum price' would send bills soaring for families. A can of standard lager would cost at least £1.76 and a bottle of whisky would rise to £28.

Under the SLTA proposals, the price of 12 cans of 1664 lager, which sell for £7.22 at Tesco, would hit £26.40. Under the SNP's 45p-per-unit plan, the price would be £11.88. For a bottle of First Cape Chardonnay, the current £3.49 cost would rise to £9.38 under SLTA proosals and £4.22 under SNP plans.
As ideas go, there haven't been many as barking since Stephen Milligan thought an orange and a bin bag might make a fun combination.

How anyone can believe that a minimum price policy would only be directed at one type of drinks retailer under current competition laws, is anyone's guess. And I don't know the prices of pub beer and wines north of the border, but even in the affluent south it's not hard to find a decent bottle of white on sale over the counter for around £8, and pints in the region of £2.

The SLTA proposals would mean a pint of Fosters couldn't be sold for less than £2.15, and a pint of Heineken, £2.84. That's Wetherspoon's year-round deals buggered straight away, let alone thousands of other offers in Scottish pubs which are desperately scrapping for market share by cutting prices.

Additionally - as Belinda soberly notes - it's a quite insane policy even if one forgets that Scotland has no border controls whatsoever to stop the huge increase in cross-Hadrian trade which would inevitably arise.

Minimum pricing will be good for nothing but creating mayhem in a country where many people can't afford shop alcohol prices. As recommended by the SLTA, it will do communities even more damage, without any likely impact on the closure rate of pubs. The recommended £1 per unit might persuade people to be grateful for a minimum price of 45p, in which case the licensed trade will have done the SNP an ill-deserved favour.

I'm minded of the attempted kidnap scene in Life of Brian where two groups of freedom fighters beat each other senseless to the bemusement of Roman sentries. Instead of a unified front to repel dangerous and absurd health lobby authoritarianism, here is an obscenely myopic organisation using supermarkets as a 'human shield' in the vain hope that they might be left alone.

I think my antipodean mucker Crampton said it best last year. And it is increasingly holding true in light of such rampant stupidity from entities such as the SLTA.

The hospitality industry lobbies for more restrictions on supermarket-bought alcohol to boost sales in bars; small brewers push for more punitive tax rates on big brewers... the only winners are the healthists who get support bit by bit for more regulations on everything. It's like a bunch of folks on the scaffolds complaining that the other guy's noose isn't quite tight enough. Y'all might instead direct your attention to the hangman sometime and try helping each other cut those ropes.
Quite. You have to wonder where these idiots have been for the past few years, and when they're finally going to realise that they are perceived as part of the problem, instead of this romantic fantasy they have of health obsessives somehow being sympathetic to them.

Good grief.

UPDATE: Yet the SLTA can, at times, be so very sensible ... like here. Go figure.


Anonymous said...

What a bunch of fucking retards.

Like making a bottle of plonk £10 is going to drive me into the arms of the pubs...

Fucking dickwads../

Anonymous said...

I spy the famed "one sided equation"!
This change will benefit us (or so the morons believe) and bugger the consequences elsewhere - who cares how many jobs disappear across other parts of the industry because of us - after all - it isn't as if they might be our customers ...

If I was a member of this illustrious body of numpties I think I'd be making arangements to not be, pretty sharpish - why pay over good money for idiocy like this !

BTS said...

Has somebody been putting deep-fried Mars bars in the water again..?

Budvar said...

Bang goes the Buckfast, QC ruby wine and Emva cream exports then.

In all seriousness, I smell the old "Bait 'n' switch" here. Start talking £1 a unit minimum pricing, await the proverbial backlash, then when they bring in the 50p a unit, it's seen as a result of people power over TPTB.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Budvar: Exactly what Belinda was saying, though why the SLTA are doing the SNP's work for them is anyone's guess.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Agreed, I read the linked article and there's an online poll which shows that a majority still approve of the smoking ban.

Anonymous said...

I think this is a great idea and am about to set-up a website exporting booze to Scotland from low tax (sic) England

Bill Gibson said...

I am meeting with the President elect of the SLTA on Tuesday morning to find out what the hell is happening. I will also pont out that the free thinkers her have a great business opportunity looming in selling Homebrew Kits.

The Scotch Whisky Association has vowed to fight the proposal of Minimum Pricing all the way to the European Courts as it has been deemed illegal under EU Law

Anonymous said...

Let it roll... trust in politicians and their "expert" cronies ably assited by the utterly idiotic sheepy clingons like SLTA (and CAMRA)will reap it's just reward.

They will of course target home brewers in time. I daresay there's people who'll relish the idea of a uniform and a better than shelf stacker hourly wage for busting doors down to seize illicit brewing paraphernalia. No doubt there's mileage in the police, camera, action genre for some dishonest pompous jobsworth self justification and voyeurism voiced over by a Corrie reject.

You never know, they might even give firearms to the... - duh, silly me - pointless fantasising - it's not new is it ? A local council run ATF SWAT team - can't wait for that :-)

Might have to wait a while - but the end result isn't in doubt.

subrosa said...

Having recently been to Switzerland I was amazed to see a beautifully appointed (although small) smoking area in the airport terminal.

Where there's a will ...

manwiddicombe said...

Two thoughts -

1. Minimum pricing makes not the slightest bit of difference to the people who already steal their alcohol.

2. As The Student Brewer said a while ago "But the main point I want to make is this. If Jack has £1 to spend on alcohol, at the moment he'd go to the supermarket. He can't afford the £3 in a pub. Put the prices up in the supermarket to £1.50 - he can't drink. But he still wouldn't be spending money in a pub - so how the hell does reducing disposable income of customers help pubs?"

Anonymous said...

Keep pushing. Sooner or later we can prise thier tiny little claws off the levers.

wiggins said...

They'd better leave the 'buckie' alone.