Thursday 24 July 2003

Mercantilism lives

Poor old Adam Smith must be spinning in his grave. The Edinburgh Evening News tells us that:
LICENSED traders are demanding a ban on new pubs and clubs in the Capital in a bid to tackle binge drinking.
The Scottish Licensed Trade Association believes a complete moratorium is the best long-term solution to tackling an issue city leaders admit is blighting the Capital. It claims Edinburgh is one of the most "over-provided cities in Europe" for licensed premises.
"Over provided!"

Of course Edinburgh has a disproportionately large number of pubs. It's a city of under 500,000 people that has three universities, is the second most important tourist destination in Britain and, uniquely in this country, has a very sizeable proportion of its prosperous middle class professionals living in the centre of the city. Many of those students, tourists and residents like Edinburgh precisely because it is well endowed with many superb Victorian and Edwardian pubs.

Have a look at this:

SLTA spokesman Paul Waterson said: "There’s no doubt at all that the best long-term solution to the binge-drinking culture is to bring a complete halt to the issuing of any new licences.
I detect a group that wants to use state power to keep out rivals. By all means let the police deal with any rowdiness outside pubs but don't let businesses use politicians to destroy potential competitors.