Plenty of other bloggers such as Dick Puddlecote and Mr Eugenides have had a go at the ludicrous restrictions in the Scottish government’s new licensing act, so I didn’t see much point in simply echoing their comments.
But one point that has so far gone unremarked is that, because of the ban on any drink promotions and discounts, the vouchers that have been given to CAMRA members allowing them 50p off a pint of real ale in Wetherspoon’s pubs have now been rendered worthless north of the border. This is despite the fact that (officially at least) only one voucher can be used per person per visit, so they can hardly be accused of being an encouragement to binge-drinking.
Maybe this might at last bring home to the powers-that-be in CAMRA that they are in a bare-knuckle fight with the anti-drink lobby who are determined to severely curtail the responsible enjoyment of alcoholic drinks. Or will they continue gaily skipping hand-in-hand with Don Shenker down the road to prohibition?
It is also very easy to see these restrictions having the opposite effect to that intended and kill off innovation and progress in the Scottish licensed trade, turning such bars as remain back into dour, hole-in-the-corner drinking shops, as they often used to be before the liberalisation of licensing law that started in the 1970s.
Edit (22 September 2009): It seems that following further consultations, Wetherspoon’s have now agreed with the Scottish Government that these vouchers can be accepted, as it is very hard to see how, if the restrictions are adhered to, they can be seen as promoting excessive or irresponsible consumption.