Minimum pricing probably would have marginally improved the myriad problems associated with alcohol consumption. By the same token, however, Fife Council's extension of licensing hours ('Licensing row after 45 police call-outs', The Scotsman, September 20) has no doubt marginally increased consumption, not only for the most obvious reason but also by encouraging revellers to 'hit the town' later in the evening and thus increasingly 'front-load' on cheap supermarket purchases.
And I know from personal experience that some of these Fife outlets pay little heed to their licensing responsibilities, thus by extending their hours and also in some cases affording them local monopolies in that regard, councillors are rewarding irresponsibility by inflating pub profits from two different angles.
Another major problem was recently highlighted by the Chief Inspector of Constabulary in England and Wales, who says that rowdy and abusive behaviour is a "disease" which has been allowed to "fester" because police have retreated from the streets in the last two decades, and there's surely little to suggest that Scotland is greatly different in this regard.
Thus the politicians closest to the coal face - local councillors - won't take on the licensed trade - preferring 'partnerships' and other window dressing - and won't take on the police, who in turn won't take on the drunks.
Instead, out dominant 'progressive' ethos considers law enforcement as authoritarian, thinks wrongdoers shouldn't be stigmatised, deems drunks victims and heaps the blame onto those nasty supermarkets.
Minimum pricing would have merely detracted attention from these issues and a generation of political neglect, and it's perhaps tempting to think that the effective end of the proposal would concentrate the minds of politicians.
However, the Scottish political mindset will no doubt prove too weak and politically correct to take the bull by the horns, and will instead retreat into the usual partisan points scoring and blame shifting. Also, any measures actually implemented are likely to amount to little more than ineffectual tokenism.
(The above was sent as a letter to the Scotsman last week in the wake of the effective end of the minimum pricing proposal, but was not published. Boo hoo. Perhaps a bit too close to the bone?)