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.