Dear Ms Somerville MSP,
Recently, the Scottish Conservatives used their debating time to oppose the minimum pricing of alcohol in the Scottish Parliament.
I listened to the debate with interest and I picked up at the mention of my name when you said the following:
"Even some Tories have seen the light, from Boris Johnson—it is not often that I quote him in a speech—to Councillor Jim Millar, chairman of the Angus licensing board, who recently said:
"I was amazed at how much alcohol ten pounds bought. This is the type of drink that seems to be favoured by underage drinkers which is a contributory factor in the anti social behaviour that is making the lives of so many people a misery."
He went on to say:
"The main cause of complaints to us as councillors continues to be young people indulging in anti social behaviour which is invariably fuelled by alcohol that can be bought for next to nothing. This is a situation that has to be brought under control".
I could not agree more with Councillor Millar on that."
Whilst I am flattered to be mentioned in the same breath as Boris Johnson, and with reference to your last remark, it’s always nice to encounter a fan, I must say that to take something I have said completely out of context and infer that it shows support for your own position is either charmingly naive or disturbingly disingenuous. Personally, I’d opt for the latter.
I have clearly stated my opposition to your Government’s minimum pricing policy on more occasions than I care to recall. Here are two pertinent examples:
“I don't believe it is prices or age limits that need to be raised. I think it is our awareness of alcohol and its effects that needs to raised and our attitude towards it that needs changed. There is no quick solution, and certainly no simple one.”
“Personally, I'm concerned that the extra cost of buying drink will be taken from other household budgets. In the case of those with modest incomes, most likely food or heating.”
You will appreciate I’m sure, if you were not aware already, that I do not, in any way support your Government’s proposals on this, and a wide variety of other matters, and I would be grateful if you refrained from misrepresenting my views in future.
Cllr Jim Millar