THE POISON GARDEN website      Arum maculatum berries on a Cannabis leaf 


This free script provided by JavaScript Kit

Pontifications on Poison

Being some ramblings on events associated with poisonous plants.

Wednesday 16th May 2012

The Scottish government has announced its intended minimum alcohol price and has set the level at 50p per unit. When I wrote about Scotland’s plans for a minimum price Wednesday 2nd November I used 50p per unit to illustrate a point but for some time it was thought that the move would be to a 45p minimum.

The UK government, now considering minimum pricing as one arm of a new alcohol strategy is thought to be looking at 40p so the 50p move in Scotland is somewhat more extreme than expected.

Wisely, and as in November it grieves me to be writing about the Scottish government acting wisely, but wisely it is, the government has created a list of what a 50p minimum price will do to a variety of branded alcohol products.1

The list is useful in reinforcing the point that a rise in minimum price does not mean there has to be a rise in all alcohol pricing. So, for example, in the whisky section it points out that supermarket own brand so-called generic whisky will rise by over £4 a bottle but anything from Bell’s upwards will be unaffected.

Similarly, it is things like own brand white wine by country that will increase but even the mass produced Blossom Hill wines will not need to increase in price.

I’m a little bit intrigued by the selection of items included in the list. It obviously is a selection but there is no indication of the basis on which it has been made. For example, all the own brand products are from Tesco’s. Its ‘Value’ brand cider currently sells for £1.69 for a 2l bottle and will have to rise to £4.20. Sainsbury’s has a ‘Basics’ brand cider at £1.89 for 2l so that will also have to rise. As will ASDA’s ‘Premium’ cider at £2.33 for 2l.

As the saying goes, ‘other brands of cider are available’ and I’m a little surprised the Scottish government’s site hasn’t pointed that out.

The PR war over minimum pricing is well underway and the Scottish government has created a webpage with quotes from organisations supportive of minimum pricing.2 It carries endorsements, as might be expected, from BMA Scotland, Alcohol Focus Scotland and other health related bodies as well as contributions from the Welsh and Northern Irish administrations and bodies concerned with children and young people.

But there is one contribution that interested me. In part it says;

‘As…a long term supporter of measures to tackle the misuse of alcohol among the minority of consumers, we welcome today’s announcement by the Scottish Government on the next stage of their proposals to introduce minimum alcohol pricing with the useful clarification  that this will be set at 50p / unit.’

And who is the ‘long term supporter’? None other than Tennents, the brewer, demonstrating its support by selling its ‘Super Lager’ at 43p a unit, 7p under the proposed minimum. I must repeat the cliché from above and say ‘other drinks companies are also inclined to talk the talk about reducing alcohol harms but without taking any action that might actually have some effect’.

Meanwhile, the Guardian has published an article attacking minimum pricing3 that clearly demonstrates that it is not above printing the sort of nonsense you expect in other papers.

The writer makes extensive use of assertion as fact and anecdote as evidence. Because she knows alcoholics who would do anything to get a drink she says minimum pricing will have no effect on consumption. Never mind all the proper research to the contrary.

She trots out the nonsense about minimum pricing affecting ‘responsible’ drinkers. As I’ve pointed out before a responsible drinker doesn’t consume enough alcohol to see any great effect even if all alcohol pricing moved up to stay in the same relationship to the minimum price.

Unsurprisingly, the article has been welcomed by the Portman Group. This is the body set up by the drinks industry to show its concerns about harmful drinking whilst ensuring that nothing is actually done that might reduce profits.


1.Minimum price for alcohol The Scottish Government 14th May 2012
2.Support for minimum pricing of alcohol The Scottish Government
3.Minimum alcohol pricing? Blame those vomiting girls Guardian 15th May 2012

Follow @thepoisongarden on Twitter

Full Entries


Saturday 20th August 2016 Sunday 6th March 2016 Wednesday 3rd February 2016


Saturday 28th November 2015 Friday 27th November 2015 Monday 17th August 2015 Wednesday 15th July 2015 Friday 26th June 2015 Thursday 25th June 2015 Thursday 30th April 2015 Wednesday 29th April 2015 Wednesday 11th March 2015 Tuesday 3rd March 2015 Saturday 28th February 2015 Sunday 22nd February 2015

November 2014

Monday 24th November 2014 Saturday 8th November 2014

October 2014

September 2014

Wednesday 24th September 2014 Monday 1st September 2014

August 2014

Tuesday 26th August 2014 Saturday 16th August 2014 Tuesday 5th August 2014 Friday 1st August 2014

July 2014

Sunday 27th July 2014 Wednesday 23rd July 2014 Sunday 13th July 2014 Sunday 6th July 2014 Tuesday 1st July 2014

June 2014

Wednesday 25th June 2014 Tuesday 24th June 2014 Sunday 22nd June 2014 Monday 9th June 2014 Wednesday 4th June 2014

May 2014

Monday 26th May 2014 Sunday 18th May 2014 Wednesday 14th May 2014

April 2014

Sunday 13th April 2014 Saturday 5th April 2014 Thursday 3rd April 2014 Tuesday 1st April 2014

March 2014

Monday 31st March 2014 Tuesday 25th March 2014 Friday 21st March 2014 Monday 17th March 2014 Sunday 16th March 2014 Tuesday 11th March 2014 Thursday 6th March 2014 Wednesday 5th March 2014 Saturday 1st March 2014

February 2014

Thursday 27th February 2014 Monday 24th February 2014 Wednesday 19th February 2014 Monday 17th February 2014 Thursday 13th February 2014 Monday 4th February 2014 Monday 3rd February 2014 Saturday 1st February 2014

January 2014

Thursday 28th January 2014 Thursday 23rd January 2014 Friday 17th January 2014 Wednesday 15th January 2014 Monday 13th January 2014 Thursday 9th January 2014 Tuesday 7th January 2014 Wednesday 1st January 2014

December 2013

Monday 23rd December 2013 Friday 20th December 2013 Tuesday 17th December 2013 Friday 14th December 2013 Thursday 12th December 2013 Sunday 8th December 2013 Wednesday 4th December 2013 Sunday 1st December 2013

November 2013

Friday 29th November 2013 Wednesday 27th November 2013 Tuesday 26th November 2013 Friday 22nd November 2013 Monday 18th November 2013 Friday 15th November 2013 Thursday 14th November 2013 Sunday 10th November 2013 Thursday 7th November 2013 Wednesday 6th November 2013 Friday 1st November 2013

October 2013

Thursday 31st October 2013 Sunday 27th October 2013 Wednesday 23rd October 2013 Monday 21st October 2013 Friday 18th October 2013 Friday 11th October 2013 Wednesday 9th October 2013 Tuesday 8th October 2013 Monday 7th October 2013 Tuesday 1st October 2013

September 2013

Monday 30th September 2013 Saturday 28th September 2013 Friday 27th September 2013 Monday 23rd September 2013 Sunday 15th September 2013 Monday 9th September 2013 Sunday 8th September 2013 Tuesday 3rd September 2013 Sunday 1st September 2013

August 2013

Tuesday 27th August 2013 Sunday 25th August 2013 Monday 19th August 2013 Friday 16th August 2013 Tuesday 13th August 2013 Friday 9th August 2013 Friday 2nd August 2013 Thursday 1st August 2013

July 2013

Saturday 27th July 2013 Sunday 21st July 2013 Wednesday 17th July 2013 Monday 15th July 2013 Saturday 13th July 2013 Friday 12th July 2013 Thursday 11th July 2013 Wednesday 10th July 2013 Tuesday 9th July 2013 Saturday 6th July 2013

June 2013

Friday 28th June 2013 Tuesday 25th June 2013 Friday 21st June 2013 Thursday 20th June 2013 Wednesday 19th June 2013 Saturday 15th June 2013 Sunday 9th June 2013 Saturday 8th June 2013 Saturday 1st June 2013

May 2013April 2013 March 2013 February 2013 January 2013 December 2012 November 2012 October 2012 September 2012 August 2012 July 2012 blog June 2012 blog May 2012 blog April 2012 blog March 2012 blog February 2012 blog January 2012 blog December 2011 blog November 2011 blog October 2011 blog September 2011 blog August 2011 blog July 2011 blog June 2011 blog


The POISON GARDEN website is not connected with Alnwick Garden Enterprises Ltd and/or The Alnwick Garden Trust.