Nanny State?

Ireland has annoyed Italy by bringing in legislation requiring all wine and spirits to carry a warning that alcohol consumption risks liver disease, fatal cancer and danger to foetuses.

Italy has failed to get the European commision to block the law and Italy has joined forces with France, Spain, Portugal to stop it!

Ireland claims its the first country in the world to do this and hopes others will follow suit.

Ireland with such a small market for wine will hardly hurt exports but the legislation along with the moves to ban meat as here show a move to control what we eat and drink all in the guise of saving the planet or stopping medical conditions caused by fatty foods.
Do we really need all this?


A warning isn’t a control.

I’m all for information being freely available, as most companies rely on information asymmetry to imply health benefits, or indeed deny harm, where often the opposite is the case. And companies won’t cut off their noses to spite their face when it comes to sales, so it’s up to legislation to do the heavy lifting.

I doubt it’ll change my drinking habits, but then it might give me pause for thought.


It’s normal in the US (or certainly California) for these warnings to be on wine bottles

I assume they’re adding the same warnings to cans of Guinness?


Thin end of a nanny state wedge.

In Scotland, we have some SNP committee chair wanting to make alcoholic drinks like tobacco, not in view, only on request and plain labels. Hopefully she will get her jotters at the next election, along with a number of her useless colleagues.


In a nutshell, no we most definitely don’t.

And if I was Italy’s wine board I’d stop shipping to Ireland or at the very least, send bottles unlabelled and they can do it at their own expense their end.

Warning. This coffee is hot and might burn you…


A total non-issue for me. Warnings on labels are a million miles from restrictions or bans.

I’d rather the Irish government focused on sorting out the housing crisis or getting big corporations to pay their tax, however!


I wonder if there was the same moaning about health warnings on tobacco when they were put on cigarettes etc? I remember much wailing and gnashing of teeth about the end of advertising tobacco on telly and of sport sponsorship.


I saw the name of this thread and thought ‘ooh, a discussion of alcohol free beer’. :person_shrugging:t3::woman_facepalming:t3:


You weren’t the only one!


There was lots of ‘nanny state’ outrage when they made public spaces smoke-free or (going back a bit further) required people to wear seat belts in cars.

How dare the government try to reduce unnecessary deaths or reduce the burden on the NHS!


There was an interesting study done in Holland back when seat belt regulations were first coming in that showed that a driver with a seat belt on started braking later than an unbelted one when approaching an obstacle and that there was a small uptick in pedestrian injuries after the regulation came in. However I’m fully convinced they save more lives/injuries then they cause.

It’s interesting how now, after all these years, if I drive off now without my seatbelt on I feel very vulnerable and almost unstable in the seat!

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My car brakes itself if I don’t brake quickly enough, so I’m guessing this is an old problem :grinning:


To my knowledge it’s a Federal requirement, not just in California.

Not sure what aspect of the Irish proposal is a world first, but such warnings definitely exist. They exist in the UK too, on a voluntary basis.

Wonder if the Italians will consider stopping exports to the US in protest? Thought not.

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The first is eminently defensible as smoking in public enclosed spaces imposes a negative externality on others.

The second is less defensible but the rationale for it is overwhelming.

Some of the restrictions proposed or being floated around alcohol are pretty indefensible. A simple statement on the bottle is fair enough, but some of the things being floated here in Scotland are a joke.

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As reported elsewhere on this forum, some South African bottles hold a warning that you shouldn’t walk on the road while intoxicated. They have a huge number of pedestrian deaths, and many of those victims are indeed drunk.


Do you mean minimum pricing Mark, or are there further changes afoot?

I have to say that crude one-size-fits-all controls like minimum pricing (which affect sensible drinkers too) sit a little uncomfortably with me. And from a purely selfish point of view, I’d probably resent not having access to the same pricing and promotions that I do south of the border!

Having said that, no one can deny that alcohol abuse causes real harm to society. If life expectancy in Glasgow really is a staggering 12 years lower than in parts of London, the much stronger drinking culture (which is obvious to anyone who’s spent a bit of time in both cities) must play a part in that.

No idea how you tackle that as these things are invariably complex and don’t lend themselves to simplistic solutions. So it probably all comes down to ‘what works’. Has there been enough time since the Scottish government introduced alcohol controls to understand whether they’ve made any difference at all to public health?

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I wasn’t referring to minimum pricing, which is a bit of a blunt tool, but I can live with it at sensible levels. The restrictions on savings by the case are a pain though, which is why Majestic sell all their wines at the ‘mix six’ price in Scotland to get round it.

I was referring to some proposals floated by an SNP meenister, called I think Maree Todd sometime last year…link to press article here.

We have an independent Italian deli/newsagent/off licence near us which carries a wonderful changing range of independently bottled whiskies and Italian wines. He was on the radio recently vigorously opposing this…customers come into browse, not ask for something from under the counter. People come on the train from Glasgow to buy stuff here (40 minute journey).

Seems to have been put on the back burner more recently as SNP have more pressing issues…perhaps their appalling record on drug abuse for one.

Re Glasgow life expectancy…there is a 15 year difference between two adjoining areas of Glasgow so don’t think it’s a whole of city issue. Drugs bigger factor than alcohol. Some English towns heading that way.

Ultimately it’s a symptom of wider issues in people’s lives - they get depressed watching the SNP in action :wink:. The SNP had become incredibly centralist and authoritarian under Sturgeon. I think that they need to address these issues which isn’t easy as many have become ‘clients’ of the state.

There are claims that minimum pricing has made a difference, but it looks pretty modest, the press reported it as a 13% fall in deaths which was lazy - in fact deaths actually rose (but are less than 20 years ago) , but they are claiming it’s 13% less than it would have been, comparing data with England…a favourite Sturgeonism.


Even in Guildford there is apparently a 10 year difference in life expectancy between certain wards. Probably more to do with poverty and wider social issues than alcohol or drugs.

Separately, though, I chuckle at visions of @MarkC or @MikeFranklin sidling up to a sinister man on a street corner: “Psst, got any decent Pauillac?”


And then being sold Yellow Tail in a Batailley bottle…