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Berwick and Carlisle off-licences, just rejoice at that news!

Scotland has become the land of the minimum alcohol price. Gushingly the BBC says that Scotland will become the first country in the World to have a minimum alcohol price (if you don’t count prohibition as an ‘infinite’ price). The UK’s Supreme Court has ruled that the proposal does not violate EU law (when pretty much anything else might).

And of course, it is for the good health of the wretched, like Gorbachev’s war on vodka.

When he took over the Soviet government in 1985, Gorbachev unleashed a massive campaign to promote soft drinks and fruit juices — instead of vodka.

His government also hiked the price of vodka and severely limited its sale. In typical Soviet style, he also proposed truly heavy-handed, excessive regulations to combat the shift from vodka to other forms of alcohol.

For instance, in the south of Russia, 100-year-old vineyards were systematically eradicated. The result was predictable enough. There were huge lines in vodka stores, of course. And in those lines, arguments and fights broke out incessantly.

Prior to Gorbachev’s anti-vodka campaign, the drink was often consumed by a “troika.” Consuming vodka in groups of three made sense because a bottle cost three rubles. In this way, each person contributed one ruble — and in turn, each had one glass.

But now, instead of just boozing up with each other, people actually shared their misery about life in larger groups. These people realized that in their miserable, detoxed circumstances, waiting in line had never been harder. And it had never been more politically explosive.

However, this measure is backed by remarkably precise science:

27. The University of Sheffield study went on to model the effect of a 50 pence per unit of alcohol minimum price on drinkers in poverty and not in poverty. It concluded that annual consumption by harmful drinkers in poverty would experience a fall of 681 units (as compared with nearly 181 units for such drinkers not in poverty), while consumption by hazardous drinkers in poverty would experience a fall of just under 88 units (as compared with a fall of only 30 units for such drinkers not in poverty). There would be 2,036 fewer deaths and 38,859 fewer hospitalisations during the first 20 years of the policy, after which when the policy had achieved its full impact, there would be an estimated 121 fewer deaths and 2,042 fewer hospital admissions each year.

The good news is that this is not a tax, the extra cost goes to the retailer, not the government (or, worse still, the UK government) although presumably they will get a cut from the VAT imposed on the ‘value-added’ of the extra paid, but don’t get me started on that.

The ultimate justification, and the reason why it was all being litigated, was that the minimum pricing was one way to skin the cat without having a general tax increase, whilst balancing the government’s health policy against the right to trade freely.

As to the general advantages and values of minimum pricing for health in relation to the benefits of free EU trade and competition, the Scottish Parliament and Government have as a matter of general policy decided to put very great weight on combatting alcohol-related mortality and hospitalisation and other forms of alcohol-related harm. That was a judgment which it was for them to make, and their right to make it militates strongly against intrusive review by a domestic court. That minimum pricing will involve a market distortion, including of EU trade and competition, is accepted. However, I find it impossible, even if it is appropriate to undertake the exercise at all in this context, to conclude that this can or should be regarded as outweighing the health benefits which are intended by minimum pricing.

More good news is that the laws are ‘experimental’ (Where have we heard that before?), so will expire after 6 years… Don’t hold your breath waiting for non-renewal.

So are good times ahead for alcohol retailers in the English Border towns, as the poor, harried Scots seek to trade with free England?

On the plus side, it is at least not a tax. But what unintended consequences might flow?

Edits: My thanks to Longrider for reminding us of the (late, unlamented) Danish fat tax, butter late than never.

I note that Part VI of the Act of Union with England 1707 states:

That all parts of the United Kingdom for ever from and after the Union shall have the same Allowances Encouragements and Drawbacks and be under the same Prohibitions Restrictions and Regulations of Trade and lyable to the same Customs and Duties on Import and Export And that the Allowances Encouragements and Drawbacks Prohibitions Restrictions and Regulations of Trade and the Customs and Duties on Import and Export settled in England when the Union commences shall from and after the Union take place throughout the whole United Kingdom . . .

And the English Act of Union 1706 has the same wording.

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40 comments to Berwick and Carlisle off-licences, just rejoice at that news!

  • QET

    This is callous, but a nationwide price increase to prevent an estimated (i.e., modeled) 100 deaths per year? A nation of 5.3 million and with 57,573 deaths in 2015? 100 deaths is probably a rounding error or within a statistical margin of error (I think this is Mr. Ed’s point in his “remarkably precise” observation). The fully intended unintended consequence of such a policy will be additional policies (taxes, price increases, direct prohibitions) that burden an entire nation in order to save an estimated (modeled) 100 lives per year. Or 50. Or 20. Or 1.

    Also, the disproportionate effect this has on poor drinkers seems suspect. Perhaps the poor ought to receive an alcohol subsidy in order to bring their numbers into line with the numbers for the non-poor.

  • It is still a tax, just an odd one that the retailer gets to keep, presumably to compensate them for less business.

  • Mr Ed

    Perry,

    I suspect that the issue of this not being a ‘tax’ in the political/legal sense (rather than the economic sense) is that it would have entailed an amendment to the Scotland Act to have allowed the Scottish Government a direct tax on goods or a change in alcohol duty in Scotland, which would have opened up a whole can of worms around what is and is not devolved from Westminster, so one reason this method was attractive is that it can be promoted as ‘a tax you can keep’, which is better than the price going up and the money going to the State, and it could be done without a battle with Westminster. It was only Scots Whisky producers and some plucky Belgian spirit and wine traders’ associations who stood against it.

    Still, they delayed it for 5 years.

  • bobby b

    I wish I owned a “home brewing supply” store in Scotland right now. (Or is that even legal there?)

  • Mr Ed

    bobby b

    There’s meths in the their madness.

  • It worked so well with the Danish Fat Tax, so why not here?

  • theodore rud

    Mr. Ed;
    Would the antidote for methanol poisoning be covered under National Health?

  • Mr Ed

    theodore

    Yes, it would, but on the NHS’s terms, and you might have to wait hours for treatment and go blind in the meantime. And there is also the risk that the funds needed (as if it makes much difference) had been spent on something else, like a Big Band Swing Band touring Europe at taxpayers expense to, well, apologise for Brexit, as part of the Music Export Growth Scheme.

    A musician who wants to tour Europe to heal the “huge divisions” caused by Brexit has been given a grant by the UK Department for International Trade.
    Matthew Herbert said he wanted to correct the impression created by Leave campaigners that the UK was “retreating into an absurd little enclave”.
    He said he wanted to get the message out: “We are still listening, we want to be friends, we want to collaborate.”
    Herbert has also set Article 50 to music and plans Brexit-themed concerts.
    The experimental musician, who also gets funding from the British Council, is one of 12 artists sharing £181,944 grant money from the department headed by Liam Fox, who was one of the key campaigners for a Leave vote in the UK’s 2016 EU referendum

    Grants under the Music Export Growth Scheme are decided by a panel of music industry executives.
    Each artist receives least £5,000, according to the criteria set out by the BPI, which administers the scheme.
    Applications are judged on their individual merits, “not political views”, the department says, and must “show traction in the UK and their target market as well as having a robust plan for making a success of the international activity”.
    Trade and export minister Baroness Fairhead, a former chair of the BBC Trust, said: “The UK is a world leader in music exports and recognised for its exceptional home-grown talent around the globe.
    “Through the music exports scheme, we help to nurture the talent of the future to explore new global markets.”

  • bobby b

    “Herbert has also set Article 50 to music . . . “

    But I’m a creep, I’m a weirdo.
    What the hell am I doing here?
    I don’t belong here.
    I don’t belong here.

  • JadedLibertarian

    The SNP display a kind of cringing middle class horror at the behaviour of the Scottish lower classes. The lower classes like “gangin’ tae the fitba and gettin’ a bit raj afterwards wie some Fenians”. So the SNP clamp down on football hooliganism and outright illegalize saying sectarian words altogether.

    The lower classes smoke. So the SNP ban it in public places, then in your car if there’s kids in it, and now they’re mooting banning it in your home as well.

    The lower classes reproduce a lot and then refuse to take government advice on how to raise their kids “properly”. So the SNP create the “Named Person” so they can force them to comply.

    The lower classes litter. So the SNP create the plastic bag tax so Scots now scrupulously squirrel away Tesco carrier bags as if they were silver ingots.

    The lower classes drink to get drunk – often hard cider or Buckfast. So the SNP are raising the price of alcohol in the hope that the Scottish lower classes will no longer be able to afford to do so. No, the only people who should be allowed to get drunk are those who do so with a rather fetching Beaujolais.

    Why don’t they just outlaw being a skeemy Ned and be done with it? Given the obsession and revulsion the SNP clearly harbour for the Scottish underclass, you wonder why the inner city schemes were so solidly SNP at the last election?

  • DP

    Dear Mr de Havilland (London)@ November 15, 2017 at 4:36 pm

    It is still a tax, just an odd one that the retailer gets to keep, presumably to compensate them for less business.

    The bag tax is one the stores get to keep, and they also win hands down on the saving in the billions of bags the customers aren’t using.

    Talk about regulatory capture.

    With the impost of MUPeteering, people can turn to home brew, so with a bit of luck both the shops and the government will suffer.

    DP

  • Mr Ed

    DP,

    Certainly in England, liable stores have to pass net proceedings from the bag tax to a ‘good cause’, not including, I imagine, impoverished Scottish boozers.

    Here’s a snippet of the tyranny involved.

    Reasonable costs
    Reasonable costs include new costs you incurred by following the law on charging. This might include:

    the cost of changing till systems
    training staff
    communicating the policy to staff and customers
    getting expert advice
    administering donations to good causes
    You can’t include existing costs, such as the cost of the bags.

    Replying to public enquiries
    Members of the public can ask you for copies of your carrier bag records. You must give them copies within 28 days.

    Dealing with the proceeds
    Once you’ve deducted reasonable costs, it’s expected that you’ll donate all proceeds to good causes, particularly environmental causes.

    During the year from 7 April 2016 to 6 April 2017, almost two-thirds of retailers told us they gave over £66 million to good causes – amounting to 4 pence for every single-use bag sold by them.

    Since we introduced the scheme, the number of bags used has gone down by more than 80 percent in England. This means that more than nine billion fewer plastic bags have been used.

    We publish a summary which includes the results reported to us by retailers, and the amounts of money given to good causes.

    Getting inspected

  • I wish I owned a “home brewing supply” store in Scotland right now. (Or is that even legal there?) (bobby b, November 15, 2017 at 5:01 pm)

    Every distillery tour will tell you of the time when it was not legal in the past – and of how little regard there was for such prohibition back then. 🙂

  • Fred Z

    I like it.

    It promotes contempt for laws, legislators and parliaments.

    Hopefully violence will follow – lamp-posts, tar, feathers, ropes and claymores coming out of the thatch. Its time for the blood of tyrants to fertilize the trees

  • So I occasionally order wine by the case from Aldi, which is delivered by Royal Mail about a week later.

    Are Aldi all of a sudden going to care that I live in Scotland and charge me more for a delivery from England?

    Presumably this is why the charge is kept by the retailer, since otherwise English stores would have no incentive not to ship as much volume as required by customers resident in Scotland and bugger Scottish law.

    If a wine distributor based solely in England and Wales was to do this then what recourse would the Scottish government have?

  • Mr Ed

    JG,

    To answer your interesting point about cross-border trade, the good news is that the Act only extends to Scotland, including Rockall I presume. The way that it works is that it makes it a condition of the licence (which is a pre-condition of lawfully selling alcohol) that alcohol is sold at at least the minimum price per ‘unit’ of alcohol. So a Scottish retailer ‘exporting’ to England would be hit, but not the other way around.

    Long ago I wondered about a suitable location for a pub built over the Anglo-Scottish border when the licensing hours were freer in Scotland were freer, and the English drinkers could decamp across the lounge at ‘closing time’. The price is not yet at the level that it would be a case of ordering drinks in England and crossing the bar to drink in Scotland, but give them about 6 years…

  • If a wine distributor based solely in England and Wales was to do this then what recourse would the Scottish government have? (John Galt (November 16, 2017 at 8:03 am)

    The same recourse they always have: complain loudly that they do not have enough powers.

    They may also have legal recourse. Scotland’s law has always differed from law in the rest of the UK, so I deduce there must be case law or whatever about areas of overlap. From my experience in how the two combine in other areas, I’d guess it would depend whether the transaction is defined as occurring in Scotland or in England. Were English law to define it as happening at the retailers and Scottish law to define it as happening at the address of the purchaser, that would be entirely in line with other features of Scots v. English law that I know of, but I do not know what the law is in this field. I’ll ask a Scots lawyer friend.

  • Patrick

    Erm. Scotland is right next door to England, with no border and anybody with a van can and will be free to load up and drive north. So….there’s going to be a MASSIVE rise in bootlegging, smuggling, outright evasion and criminality. The price of booze on the streets of Cumbernauld will not change by as much as a penny. In fact driving the whole thing underground like drugs will simply raise the overall level of awfulness and associated criminality in poorer Scottish shitholes than is the case already. Good job SNP!

  • Mr Ed

    Niall,

    The wording of the statute is quite clear, it makes it a condition of the alcohol retail licence that alcohol be sold when on premises at a minimum price. Selling off-premises is not permitted by the Act, but the Act does only and only can extend to Scotland, and (even though it appears to violate the Act of Union with England 1707 and the corresponding English Act at article VI as I put in the edit, there is no way that the Scottish government can enforce anything against retailers in England. Bootleggers yes. There is one thing that the High Court of Justiciary could try to do, which is to use its ‘Declaratory Power’ to declare buying booze from England, rUK. at below the statutory minimum illegal, on the basis that it is a mischief to thwart the law, but that would be stretch.

    I don’t know if the declaratory power has been used since the Human Rights Act 1998 came into force, as it is a classic express ex post facto law, and it lies with the Court, not the Executive. It has been used to make selling glue-sniffing kits illegal. A good blog post about it is here.

  • The University of Sheffield study went on to model the effect of a 50 pence per unit of alcohol

    There’s something about the use of the word “unit” instead of a natural measurement that makes it come across as even more control-freakish than the simple idea of minimum pricing.

  • Derek Buxton

    Ted, and we all know how accurate computer models can be, see climate change models as an example. My worry is as in the case of plastic bags, our rather stupid government will follow the Scots example. They are not to be trusted on anything that can make them money at our expense.

  • Mr Ed (November 16, 2017 at 9:27 am), thanks for the link to the interesting article. It seems clear that unless the relevant court were to become far more legally activist (thank God it’s not), there is no likelihood of any such use of the declaratory power in this case. Thank you also for taking the time to read the actual act and so observe it anyway avoids directly challenging the issue John Galt raised.

    I conjecture that the greater dependence of Scots law on common law (mentioned in the article) exists because the act of Union maintained Scots law as a separate legal system but moved the parliament to England. Thus for almost three centuries, there was no body whose role was to legislate specifically in Scots law. (Sadly, this was reversed 20 years ago and the new parliament is trying to make up for lost time.)

  • John B

    The ‘research’ assumes no substitution (bootleg, contraband) and overlooks that less money might be spent on other things… like food… to pay for the increase in price of booze.

    Central planners never consider the unseen, that Humans can and do react, then wonder why their cunning plan failed or produced the opposite of what was intended.

  • Mr Ed

    Niall,

    Thus for almost three centuries, there was no body whose role was to legislate specifically in Scots law.

    That’s not quite the full picture as there was the Scottish Grand Committee of the UK Parliament, which quietly dealt with purely Scots law matters, e.g. the legal profession in Scotland. The Committee is still extant, but is perhaps more latent than dormant, so Scots MPs can sit and deal with Scottish matters, provided that they are not dealing with matters devolved to the monstrous edifice in Edinburgh.

    Also, Scots Criminal Law remained entirely within Scotland, with the final criminal appeal being in Edinburgh, not the House of Lords as with the rest of the UK. However the UK’s Supreme Court, which replaced the Judicial Committee of the House of Lords, has actually stuck its oar in to Scots Criminal Law on the basis of it being a final arbiter of Human Rights law in the UK as part of the devolution settlement. So ironically, devolution has led to Scots criminal law coming partially under a UK court.

    And if taking a poor man’s beer isn’t a breach of his human rights, what use are they?

  • Surellin

    The Soviets also had vodka bottles with foil caps. They could not be re-closed so that one could save half for later, and thereby encouraged fast drinking and sharing among a troika. I don’t think Gorbachev ever fixed that little problem.

  • Kevin B

    I wouldn’t be inclined to set up a supply chain running cheap booze from England to Scotland. (It’s a struggle to apply the adjective cheap to English booze).

    The Sheffield research group are a wholly owned subsidiary of Public Health England which itself is a branch of Alcohol Concern and the whole bunch of prohibitionists are financed by the UK Government, which means of course the UK taxpayer.

    Sheffield have managed to do the only study of the effects of alcohol which didn’t show the J-curve effect – in which teetotallers are likely to die earlier than moderate drinkers and the deleterious effects of boozing only manifest themselves in heavy drinkers – and since the government happily accepted these results and based the current alcohol guidelines on them, it seems extremely likely that the rest of the UK will soon have its own minimum pricing set up.

    So the period in which rotgut cider can be profitably traded to thirsty jocks will probably be fairly short.

  • So the period in which rotgut cider can be profitably traded to thirsty jocks will probably be fairly short.

    …and we’ll be back to the 1970’s, manufacturing our own homemade wine.

    How to Make Your Own Pea-pod Wine

  • Watchman

    John B

    The ‘research’ assumes no substitution (bootleg, contraband) and overlooks that less money might be spent on other things… like food… to pay for the increase in price of booze.

    Seriously? How do you call yourself an academic and not consider a basic economic consideration such as elasticity of demand.

    So, based on this research, the Scottish government are going to be surprised that alchoholics in Scotland are starving themselves to buy the same amount of cheap alchohol. Despite the fact that anybody on the Scottish street could tell them this would happen.

  • Watchman

    Mr Ed,

    The bit of the Act of Union you cite is about setting up a single customs union, and doesn’t apply to things like this (there were plenty of wierd local taxes and levies at the time, which got edited out by centralising power). It’s basically the equivalent of establishing the EEA, but in a hell of a lot less words.

  • Seriously? How do you call yourself an academic and not consider a basic economic consideration such as elasticity of demand.

    Standard order of business in Government research is to ignore any behavioural responses in taxation / prohibition legislation, otherwise nothing would ever get done, since (as with this latest bullshit), any improvements are marginal at best and behavioural responses would wipe them out.

    Even when behavioural responses are included, they are vastly undervalued as the impact on businesses and consumers are vastly undercosted.

    When the small Scottish chains start going under to the large resellers shipping product direct to the door from England (entirely legally) without the burden of the Scottish MUP tax, then this legislation will either get drastically modified to the point of irrelevance or it will be “temporarily suspended” and at some later date, quietly shelved.

    The customers lost to the small Scottish chains will never return to the same level, preferring the convenience, cost and quality of the Internet retailers and so the net effect will be a transfer of jobs out of Scotland.

    Way to go SNP!

  • Mr Ed

    Watchman,

    The bit of the Act of Union you cite is about setting up a single customs union, and doesn’t apply to things like this

    I disagree. The wording of Article VI, even as amended, is clear, my emphasis added.

    That all parts of the United Kingdom for ever from and after the Union shall have the same Allowances
    Encouragements and Drawbacks
    and be under the same Prohibitions Restrictions and Regulations of Trade
    and lyable to the same Customs and Duties on Import and Export And that the Allowances Encouragements and Drawbacks Prohibitions Restrictions and Regulations of Trade and the Customs and Duties on Import and Export settled in England when the Union commences shall from and after the Union take place throughout the whole United Kingdom

    This is clearly a regulation of trade, as it regulates how you trade alcoholic beverages can be priced for sale (‘beverage’, such a technical term, does anyone say it outside of the law or a lab?).

    As the first rule of statutory interpretation, you give the words their plain or literal meaning. Intention is not relevant. The golden rule of avoiding absurdity does not apply, and this is to ensure that just the sort of mischief that the Scottish government is inflicting, a Union without a level playing field in commerce. The final rule, the mischief rule would not be applicable as the Act of Union does not create a mischief.

    However, if Mrs May finds out, she will bring it in to whatever parts of the UK she could faster than a pint going down in a boat race.

    But yes, it is remarkable how easy it is to get by with fewer words. Must have been the price of vellum, 😉 .

  • Sam Duncan

    It occurred to me while leafing through a bunch of Christmas advertising bumf that what will actually happen is that this will become a de facto minimum price for the entire country, because it’ll be simpler for retailers than advertising and keeping track of two different prices. And if this causes resentment in England and Wales, it’s a double win for the gnats.

    “I wish I owned a “home brewing supply” store in Scotland right now. (Or is that even legal there?)”

    For now. Don’t give them ideas.

  • Paul Marks

    Scotland – where ideas discredited long ago in the Soviet Union get a zombie come-back. And the “Conservatives” in Scotland? A bunch of E.U. loving “Remainers” who do not have to pretend to believe in P.C. doctrine, as Tory folk do south of the border, because they-really-do-believe-in P.C. doctrine.

    But why? Why is Scotland even more leftist than the rest of the United Kingdom? Some people blame Scottish education – in England very large numbers of people spend many years in government schools and come out knowing nothing much about anything, but Scottish government schools (set up after 1871 – before then schools were a matter for the local churches, the Kirk, in Scotland) were good at teaching people things. This is fine when what is being taught is true – but in recent decades (especially since the 1960s) what the education system tries to teach has included lots of false stuff (socialist doctrine – dominating the teaching of history and so on). This means that the well educated ordinary people of Scotland have been taught (well taught) socialist doctrine – whereas south of the border government schools, at least since the Comprehensive School revolution, are very bad at teaching socialist doctrine – just as they are very bad at teaching anything else.

    However, there is hope…..

    The Scottish “Nationalist” Party (which believes that the cities of Brussels and Frankfurt are in Scotland – and, therefore, supports the European Union) has been “reforming” the Scottish government (undermining the teaching of everything) – so soon ordinary Scots will not longer be really properly socialism, or anything else.

    However, the Scottish “Nationalist” government has also decided to tax Scottish PRIVATE schools into the ground – Scottish private schools tend to be less expensive than most private schools in England – but this will soon no longer be the case, indeed Scottish private schools may soon by taxed to destruction.

    This will mean that for the first time in centuries the Scots will be less well educated than the English or Welsh. The Scottish government schools will soon be as bad (or worse) than ours – and many private schools in Scotland will soon no longer exist.

  • Paul Marks

    I would be interested in hearing from Niall about the “reform” of Scottish education – is it really as bad as I have been told?

  • Duncan S

    Mr Ed,

    it would appear that the issue of Article 6 has already been considered during the long legal fight against minimum pricing it’s mentioned in here

  • Mr Ed

    Duncan S,

    Indeed, you are right, and thank you for finding it. You would have to be a judge to believe that judgment. I see the particular stitch-up at paragraph 40:

    Wide terms in a constitutional statute have to be read in their historical context – in this case against the political objective, of particular importance to Scotland, to allow merchants from each of the parts of what was then to become Great Britain access on equal terms to the markets of the other (see the historical works referred to by the Lord Ordinary). But, as was pointed out in Citizen’s Insurance Company of Canada and Anr v Parsons (pp. 112, 113), Art 6 has never been understood as preventing Parliament from passing separate and different laws bearing on trade in the constituent parts of Great Britain. Acts regulating the sale of intoxicating liquors and bankruptcy statutes were given as illustrations.

    In other words, ‘This doesn’t mean what it says because it is old enough for me to disregard.’ The law does exactly what Article VI was there to prevent, save that it is the Scots sabotaging their own access to their own market, not some perfidious English plan to exact costs or duties on Scottish consumers or producers dealing with anyone else.

    That the law on contract, bankruptcy and the sale of liquors differs is irrelevant, the parties to a cross-border contract can chose a forum, bankruptcy is in personam, not in rem, and it is not about commerce, but liability for debts, which is a wider matter. A Welsh and Scottish merchant should face the same rules selling in either country, something that this regulation sabotages. The Act of Union point did not make it to the Supreme Court.

  • llamas

    If you want to see what will be the inevitable result of this asinine regulation, I invite you to visit the little burg of White Clay, NE, which is a half-horse town on the state line with South Dakota. (They share the one horse with Chadron, about 10 miles West). They are the last stop on the road North into the Pine Ridge Indian reservation, where alcohol sales and imports are outlawed.

    This 4-street hamlet contains 4 or 5 of the largest retail liquor stores I have ever seen, more like warehouses piled to the rafters with cases of beer and liquor. The whole place is ankle-deep in empty beer cans and liquor bottles, and drunk and comatose people litter the streets and empty lots, and all along the shoulders of the short stretch of Route 87 into the reservation. I don’t go there without a sidearm, this is a truly scary place.

    The tribal police do their best to prevent the flow of alcohol North, but they can’t be everywhere at once, and anyway, the residents of the reservation want alcohol, they’ll go to White Clay to get it, and the police will soon lose public support if they crack down too hard. But I know a NE police officer who used to have White Clay on his beat and he used to say that, if the State would let him, he could sit on that stretch of Route 87 and write DUIs continuously, forever.

    That’s what you’ll get. People want to drink, they’re gonna drink, and the goal should be to minimize the negative impacts on society. Price fixing is quite-possibly the worst way of doing that that there is.

    llater,

    llamas

  • Watchman

    llamas,

    To be fair, a few northern Cumbrian towns (the bit of England nearest to Scotland on the west side) are like that without any prohibition laws, so it won’t be a major change…

    Agree with you on the price fixing.

  • bobby b

    “Price fixing is quite-possibly the worst way of doing that that there is.”

    Used to be, when you received governmental benefits for your basic sustenance, it came in the form of food stamps and vouchers, which could only be exchanged for food and rent.

    This was perceived by some as being injurious to the dignity of the poor – we shouldn’t be telling them how to spend their money! – and so, many places switched to cash benefits (or the ubiquitous e-card.) That’s the main issue with the Rez-idents.

    Perhaps a return to the old system is in order. Receiving food stamps that can only be used for foodstuffs would mean that alcohol funds would need to be procured by some effort, which would at least cut down the amount being drunk.

    When people obtain their entire livelihood through welfare, it’s a strong indication that they ought to be receiving advice and, yes, perhaps some coercion, about how they spend it.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    theodore rud
    November 15, 2017 at 6:53 pm

    Would the antidote for methanol poisoning be covered under National Health?

    Am I wrong in remembering that the antidote for methanol poisoning is an equal quantity of ethanol, which prevents the methanol (not toxic in itself) from being metabolized to toxic by-products?

    Free booze!

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