18 Mar 2011

John Mason has come out in support of real local beer… and he might drink some! In response to CAMRA’s campaign leading up to the Scottish Parliament elections, John is happy to support their main campaign points and to state that he will:
1. represent Scotland’s 3 million pub goers, beer and cider drinkers;
2. support the economic growth of Scotland’s 50 small breweries;
3. promote well-run community pubs and not-for-profit members’ clubs as part of the solution to alcohol misuse by reducing the current advantages enjoyed by the off-trade in contrast to the on-trade;
4. recognise the social, economic and cultural importance of pubs and not-for-profit members’ clubs.

John confesses that this is not a difficult commitment for him as he really enjoys a pint, especially if it is a Scottish beer like Deuchars, Dark Island (Orkney), Cuillin (Skye), Fraoch (heather ale), Arran, or similar. When he visits a hotel or pub, he often starts by asking what Scottish beer they have. And at SNP social events he always encourages those running the bar to have at least some good quality Scottish beers (even if folk do have to pay a little more for them).

However, there are more serious reasons to support this campaign too. The SNP has tried to bring in a minimum price for alcohol. This would be aimed primarily at the ludicrously cheap alcohol from the off-trade. Many health professionals and others who recognise the problems of alcohol in Scottish society supported this move. Sadly the other parties in Scotland put their narrow interests before the health of our people and defeated minimum pricing. But one of the SNP’s top commitments if re-elected is to re-introduce a plan for minimum pricing.

There is also the advantage of having people drink in a supervised environment like a pub as against a local park where the drinkers can be a danger to themselves and also cause real problems to members of the public.

Finally the big advantage of supporting local producers is simple. It means JOBS! And especially in these difficult days we can all be supportive of local companies in protecting and encouraging more jobs. Right here in Shettleston constituency we have the small West brewery (at Templetons, Glasgow Green) and their beer is superb!