The Scotsman cartoon: Scotland’s drink problem

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Health secretary Alex Neil insisted that Scotland’s destructive relationship with alcohol is a direct result of Mrs Thatcher’s policies.

At a pro-independence rally in Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, Mr Neil claimed that Scotland’s predilection for heavy drinking is a result of Mrs Thatcher closing heavy industry and failing to create jobs, sparking a huge rise in drink-related deaths among working-age men.

The SNP Cabinet minister’s decision to blame the former prime minister was attacked as “preposterous” by the Tories last night.

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Margaret Thatcher drove Scots to drink - Neil