The pneumatic tyre, penicillin, thermosflasks, television, logarithms and golf. And now, Scotland may be about to increase the age for getting a carry-oot from a supermarket and off-licence from 18 to 21. This comes on the back of a successful pilot in West Lothian which saw vandalism and assault halved. The age for drinking in licenced premises will stay at 18.
The NUS (quelle surprise) and the Scottish Retail Consortium (c’est la plus grande surprise de ma vie) are against the proposal. They say it is “confusing”. I’d say this might be true, but only if people are already blootered. A non- intoxicated person should have no problem distinguishing a pub from a Thresher’s or a Co-op, nor should he (or increasingly she) have trouble remembering his/her age. “Confusing” is the criticism nay-sayers level when they realize they have no decent arguments to dispute a proposal.
All the other things that people suggest work would work better – more education, restrictions on advertising, pricing mechanisms that stop alcohol selling for less than water, etc.. – can still be implemented. There’s no ‘either/or’.
At present, off-licences carry posters suggesting that you will be asked to provide ID if you look under-21. This isn’t always applied as almost anybody who has stood behind the taller-than-average 16-year-old buying his bottle of Woodpecker for the Friday jolly in the local park will testify, but at least it hints at the prospect that 15, 16 and 17 year olds who look 18 will not be able to complete their purchases. With an age minimum of 21, you can be expected to be asked for ID if you look under 25 (this is the policy they had in place during the West Lothian pilot). No, it’s not perfect, but it is more difficult for a 16 year-old to pass for someone nearly 10 years older.
I hope this goes through and I hope, like TV (but not logarithms), it makes it to England shortly thereafter.
Are there any aspects of Scottish Law that are inferior to English and Welsh? I can’t think of any.