I DON’T like to deal in crude stereotypes, but I genuinely believe we Scots are not given to shouting about our own successes. It’s a trait which leads us to dwell on the challenges and difficulties we face, and spend little time reflecting on our achievements.
The prompt for such navel gazing came last week when the SLTA’s Paul Waterson suggested to me that the Scottish on-trade has had very little praise for how it’s met the many legislative challenges hurled its way in the last five years.
And I have to say he’s got a point.
People feared there would be widespread and flagrant breaches of the smoking ban before it was introduced in March 2006. The reality has been as near to 100% compliance as one could realistically expect.
Next up came the seismic operational shift caused by the transition from the 1976 to the 2005 licensing Act.
Again the trade stepped up the mark, adapting to a new, complex way of applying for licences, controls on drinks promotions and mandatory training for all staff.
With further change coming in the shape of the Alcohol Act, including the advent of challenge 25, I expect the trade to be similarly prepared.
Indeed, notwithstanding the excellent awareness-raising campaign launched last week by the Scottish Beer & Pub Association, my sense from speaking to operators in the past month is that the trade is fully versed in what’s to come from October 1.
It’s very easy to dwell on the negatives when the economy remains stagnant and established licensed businesses are going to the wall.
But in my view our operators deserve enormous credit for rising to this red tape challenge, especially amid such challenging conditions.