For some considerable time now I have struggled to understand why the Scottish Government’s decision to implement the minimum unit pricing policy has been such a bug bear to the Scottish Whisky Association.
Way back we used to go to their fringe meeting at SNP conference. They were a nice bunch of guys who chatted informally while allowing the invited delegates to try different whiskies. When we started the Moray Whisky fundraiser stall for Moray SNP constituency they were extremely complimentary of our display and promotion of the Speyside malts. Two things happened. Firstly, the wooden marquee bouncy floor and health and safety meant no more grand displays of bottles of malt. Secondly, the arrival of more professional lobbyists employed by the SWA. The fringe events became less enjoyable, or maybe we were getting older and needing a seat and food.
Today I read Kenny Macaskill in The Herald. It would seem that my synicism (with no hard evidence) was indeed correct. SWA throwing their weight around just because they can afford to. Where does the money come from to keep going to the courts? I still can’t understand their argument though. They make their money through a product that already sells above the minimum price unit. Malt whisky is not at the top end of the list of products harming our nation’s health. They are putting the bank balance of their association above the health of the people of the Nation they use to trade their products.
Why should I even be surprised. It is the way of business to make profit at the expense of the customer. Whether it be empty calories added to bulk out a product, chemicals or drugs used to increase yield regardless of side effects. Indeed it’s the way of Westminster Government. Perhaps it’s because so many come from the more privileged parts of the UK that they think firstly of capping ordinary workers’ pay while continuing to pay out bonuses in the white collar sector whether targets have been exceeded or not. They take away social benefits from people who cannot survive without them while subsidising some businesses when they really don’t need it. The taxpayer subsidises the Westminster bars and restaurants by 2.7 million pounds when an ordinary MP earns in the region of £70,000. Yes, they need allowances for travel and accommodation but they eat wherever they are. That should not be at our expense just because they are at work. Does your work feed you?
The Scottish Government is trying to provide their people with a healthier and fairer environment to grow in. Could big business and big governments please allow us to help our own?