The Scottish Conservative Party has dropped its opposition to minimum unit pricing for alcohol, in a deal that would see it scrapped in five years if it fails to work. Now, it may be argued that north of the Border the Tories have become pretty much a political irrelevance, but it is hard to see how spineless me-too-ism will do anything to improve their electoral prospects. Maybe they would do better to make a stand against the tide of joyless neo-Prohibitionism that seems to run through the veins of Salmond’s administration.
And how will we be able to tell if minimum pricing has proved a “success” anyway? If alcohol problems in society have declined, then obviously it will receive the credit, even if many other factors have been at work. If they haven’t declined, then the call is bound to come, not for it to be scrapped, but to be intensified. For so many of today’s problems in society, the call comes “Doctor, doctor, the medicine isn’t working!” to which the response is always “Increase the dose, then, Nurse.”