BBC Scotland’s Reevel Alderson has revealed:
‘Scots top UK drink death rates but numbers are falling’
However, it seems that another negative Scottish stereotype is about to fade as related statistics fall below those of the rest of the former UK. We’ve seen murder, knife-related crime, domestic abuse, racial abuse, youth crime and stillbirth, plummet in the years since the first SNP Government came to power just over 10 years ago. We’ve also seen the reduced impact of UK Government attacks on the poor and vulnerable, here, due to Scottish Government actions. While the causes are no doubt multifactorial, with increased home-based media usage and reduced environmental lead levels credited by some researchers, policy-makers must always share in the credit for, especially, the established effects of reduced inequalities on crime and health.
One of the more stubborn indicators was always going to be damaging alcohol consumption, but we see in Reevel’s revelations, here, a strong indication that alcohol-related deaths are in the process of falling below the levels in the rest of the former UK.
- Scotland is the only country in the UK to have seen a significant reduction in alcohol-related deaths this century.
- The number has fallen by 21% since 2001.
- In Northern Ireland it rose by 40% over the same period.
- The Scottish figure for 2017 was 1,120, almost 300 fewer than the peak year of 2006.
- The UK death toll has risen in recent years and is now similar to those in 2008 where it was at the highest recorded.
- The Scottish government introduced a minimum unit price (MUP) for alcohol in May 2018. The policy, which increased the price of some cheap, strong drinks was welcomed by alcohol campaigners.
Britain’s four distinct governments offer us the opportunity to form an initial hypothesis linking political ideology to excessive alcohol consumption. That it is soaring under that most British Nationalist of parties, the DUP in Norther Ireland, rising under the Loyal Labour Party in Wales and also rising under New UKIP (formerly the Conservative and Unionist Party) in England, yet falling fast under the Europhile and politically progressive SNP in Scotland, it is hard to avoid the notion that rightist British Nationalism may be driving part of the population to escapist solutions. Is golf, I wonder, also falling in popularity in Scotland?
However, It’s important that we don’t revel in Reevel’s revealing statistics, yet.
Reevel’s days could be numbered at BBC Sweaty for such a positive message – unless, for job security purposes, he managed to squeeze in the obligatory “but critics say”.
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Is he the least happy with propaganda?
Maybe Reevel is becoming a bit of a beeb Scotland revolutionist in his maturing years? We live in hope and await developments.
Did others notice the strange set of front page headlines that the ‘Scottish’ papers carried this morning? – Mighty odd it was (I had a glance at the beeb Scotland ‘papers’ section).
‘Scottish’ Sun, Daily Wrecker, Courier and P+J carried nothing at all of May’s Parliamentary difficulties on front page, Herald placed it as a lesser front page piece under a ‘nothing’ story with big headlines.
Meanwhile – the ‘Scottish’ Daily Heil and The Hootsmon joined the National in making May’s travails the front page headline and splash. I don’t pretend to know what is going on there – but if the Heil and Hootsmon want to stick it to May and her atrocious govt. that is fine by me.
Interestingly Edinburgh tory cooncillor and former Hootsmon editor had an article critical of May and No. 10’s exclusion of the National from the press pack covering May’s recent visit to Bridge of Weir – snippets from HoldTheFrontPage below:
Scottish Newspaper Society director John McLellan says it was “unacceptable and unhelpful” to deny pro-Scottish independence daily The National from covering a conference held by the Prime Minister on Wednesday.
As reported by HTFP on Thursday, the incident prompted The National to run a dramatic front page showing Mrs May’s silhouette above a dummy two-deck headline, with some words explaining why it had refused to cover the visit.
In a follow-up splash on Friday the Glasgow-based newspaper accused Mrs May of “running scared”.
Former Scotsman editor John, now a sitting Tory councillor on Edinburgh City Council, has admitted Number 10’s decision was “a mistake” in a column for his former paper.
“Not that Downing Street gives two hoots what I think, but as director of the newspaper trade association which includes The National and also one of Mrs May’s council foot soldiers, excluding publications on the basis of their politics is both unacceptable and unhelpful to the cause. As they say in the Civil Service, happy to discuss.”
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The social driver for these figures was in the past, and these ghastly death rates are to some extent historic in nature. If Scotland continues to show improvement, it may be a reflection of a more contented society. If we could only curb drug misuse.
But Scotland has a government willing to confront Scotland’s social demons, in spite of spite from its opponents( and the distillers).
Impoverishment among people across the UK DRIVES them to the oblivion of cheap hooch. So yes, British nationalist sentiment that people are responsible for their own circumstances, and that there is no society to offer a safety net for those who cannot look after themselves. Never forget that Labour claimed welfare cuts were not deep enough, when the Tories were in their pomp.
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Cheap alcohol has always been used by the state to keep the masses quite, I seem to remember reading about penny gin in England and Whisky was pretty cheap in Scotland. There wasn’t a requirement for the state to foot the medical costs for any alcohol related disease. The same could be said for smoking, both excellent revenue earners for the government.
As for golf, big revenue earners for clothing and club manufacturers, getting a tee time on a Saturday or Sunday morning can be difficult. Membership of clubs has undoubtedly dropped, but that is very definitely down to the club’s, but I don’t think the numbers actually playing has dropped, the fastest growing sector are the ladies.
Amazing, Reevel refers to the rest of the ‘former UK’ on the second line after the heading! I hope this is prophetic. I rather like the idea of ‘the former UK’, it has a good ring to it. I hope it wasn’t just a typo.
Good article, as well pointing out that it is poverty and deprivation that drives people to self-harming whether by alcohol, tobacco or drugs.