Saturday, 9 October 2010

Boredom Causes Boozing

This is a letter published in the Paisley Daily Express, dated 8 October.  It is in response to a letter published on October 1, which was written by Andy Doig, the SNP's Parlimentary candidate for Paisley at the Holyrood election.

Dear Editor
I write with regard to the letter's published in the Paisley Daily Express dated 1 October 2010 relating to underage drinking.
In Mr Doig's letter he states that local authorities are "at the front line of defence against the scourge of underage drinking rather than Holyrood", he goes on to praise the current administration for their hard line on this issue.  While I am sure that they are, the actions taken do not appear to be making a difference as there are still groups of young people out at weekends congregating around areas of disused ground drinking.  The evidence of a hard night's drinking can be seen with the broken bottles & discarded cans which litter the landscape of our schemes. 
Mr Doig also attacks Mr Henry for his stance on Minimum Pricing.  The Labour stance on this policy is that they disagree with it because it will put money into the pockets of the supermarkets, with estimates in the region of around £140 million.  While this is a mute point, Mr Henry should have objected because this is a measure that will not work.  When people want to drink, they will drink.  Minimum Pricing will not act as a deterrent to alcohol consumption.  Its effect instead will be to create a spiral of debt and despair, with people maybe resorting to crime to "fund" their habit.  Rather than "save another generation in Renfrewshire from the social devastation and family breakdown caused by cheep drink", it will re-enforce the social devastation and family breakdown caused by alcohol addiction.
So how do we solve this problem?  Alcohol dependency is a complex issue which cannot be resolved by simplistic measures like Minimum Pricing.  As regards to underage drinking, there is something our council can do to help.  They can provide a cheep alternative to hanging around derelict ground drinking cheep booze.  They can put themselves in the position of so many of these people and ask themselves the question "What is there to do on a Friday/Saturday night in Paisley?".  Maybe then they will understand that boredom is the main driver of underage drinking.
Yours faithfully


BellgroveBelle said...

No one, including in the SNP, is arguing minimum pricing is the only answer - it's part of the package which is the whole Bill. The Police are part of that too, as well as health professionals.

In my ward, Police are taking action on drinking dens, and a local alcohol strategy has been in place for some months. Again, it's just part of the picture, but it helps.

Labour are only interested in opposing for the sake of opposition - and for that Hugh Henry and every other Labour MSP deserve the criticism.

Allan said...


The letter is in response to a letter which appeared in the PDE, and as such I am comparing the words of Mr Doig to the actions of Renfrewshire Council, which has had minimum inpact on under-age drinking and teenage drinking.

Mr Doig claimed that Minimum Pricing is a "crucial policy", and all the scorn has been poured on to Labour for their opposition to this policy.

So why is there not an equal amount of scorn on their opposition to the ability to raise the age of buying alcohol and tighter licencing regulation, which are the less publicised but more crucial policies (i would think).

Stuart Winton said...

"In my ward, Police are taking action on drinking dens, and a local alcohol strategy has been in place for some months. Again, it's just part of the picture, but it helps."

So what's been happening the last fifty years then?

Sounds a bit too much like the normal 'crackdown' culture, BB; neglect something for years, then announce a crackdown with 'strategies' and 'high visibility policing' etc, then a few weeks later everything can return to normal.