The curse of puritan Scotland

I’ve been toying with a theory that there is a correlation between incompetent politicians and their tendency to regulate our lifestyles. Why else would Scotland be both at the vanguard of smoking bans, minimum booze prices, hunting bans, football chant bans etc AND a backwater of feeble economic growth, social deprivation, failing public services and high taxes?

Actually I don’t think the link works. After all, the world has plenty of dodgy regimes which are as kleptocractic as ours but where, by and large, they leave their citizens alone when it comes to their private lives.

So there must be another reason why we in Scotland suffer from this unhappy coincidence of parliamentary puritans and bureaucratic bunglers. Perhaps it’s something to do with the tedious and interminable argument about the constitution, as I suggest for Think Scotland this week. Our politicians are too busy arguing for more powers to use the ones they already have, and pass easy laws to restrict our freedom as cover for their failings.

At least there’s one bit of good news. The minimum alcohol price has been challenged by the drinks industry, home and abroad, and it seems likely that it will be struck down by the EU on the grounds that it restricts trade. I’m not normally a fan of EU meddling in domestic matters, but your enemy’s enemy is your friend, as they say! For a good demolition of the minimum alcohol price see Eamonn Butler’s article on the Free Society site (which I edit).

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