The 2009 Political Post

Scotland has roughly fifty one hours left before an actual raft of new licensing regulations come into force. While there's no provision for minimum pricing (setting a minimum price per unit of alcohol, for example), there are new laws governing the pricing and promotion of alcoholic drinks - no more happy hours or 2-for-1 drinks offers north of the border - and an overhaul of the way licenses are granted to bars, clubs and restaurants. One of the key points of the new legislation is the introduction of mandatory training for all "staff serving alcohol", so that anyone involved in the sale of alcohol is aware of the various ramifications of dispensing a potentially dangerous and addictive drug. Among certain training companies, it seems that one of the most important lessons is to make sure not to offer your customers "same again?"

This has - thanks to the local press (don't go pretending The Scotsman's a national paper, you'll get laughed right out of the print media deathwatch) - become a thing.

The scene goes a little something like this: you pop into a local bar for a quick shandy after work and as you get towards the bottom of the glass, the bartender gives you a little nod and asks, "same again?" This inevitably leads to a downward spiral into alcohol dependency and addiction that gradually begins to intrude into your personal and professional life, ultimately leading Captain America to question your ability to fulfill the role of IRON MAN.

No, really.

Training bar staff to recognize when customers should no longer be served is progress. Doing it on a national level is progress. Regulating the minute detail of how bar staff do their job is not. The idea that bar staff blindly - or maliciously - push repeat rounds on increasingly intoxicated patrons should be offensive to anyone in the industry who takes pride in their work.

Alcohol abuse and its attendant social ills are huge problems in Scotland, but no-one will make any progress on them if we're too busy worrying about word choice.