Pub chain Wetherspoons announced that they were selling a pint for 99p.
The knee-jerk reaction was as rapid as it was predictable. The anti drink lobby and the hand wringing professionally concerned were out in force lambasting the company for what some described as irresponsible selling of alcohol.
But amidst all of this, there was an opportunity to see how the SNP's proposals on alcohol, led by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill (described by journalist Tom Little as a zealot in this article) would affect offers such as these.
Well, if we assume that the beer in question was 4% ABV (not an unreasonable assumption), and we apply the SNP's suggested minimum price per unit of alcohol of 35p, then it turns out that Wetherspoons, or anyone else for that matter, could actually sell a pint for the grand total of 80p.
A whole 19p less than the pint currently offered, and still within 'Kenny's Law'.
Personally, I like a bargain, and I enjoy a pint (though not for the past 13 weeks due to my diet), so I certainly don't mind combining the two. I appreciate that we need to address our relationship with alcohol, but trying to price the stuff out of people's reach simply won't cut it. Those that want to, or need to buy the stuff will continue to do so, and they will fund the extra cost from other parts of the household budget. Like so many other of Mr MacAskill's pronouncements, this one will have the sum total of no effect on the problem whatsoever.