IT SEEMS there’s a rising panic that this virus is leading to a 21st-century prohibition movement.

Booze is not good for mental health. It doesn’t exactly go hand in hand with compliance to regulation – it can also fire up rebellious spirits at a time when calm conformity is being called for.

When things are either going brilliantly or going terribly, that seems the most appropriate time to have a drink.

When someone gets diagnosed with something as grim as terminal lung cancer then this perhaps constitutes a fairly powerful reason to pour a stiff one?

And yet here I am, in exactly that position and every pub in the central belt where I live is shut – not that any of that makes one half pint of a difference to me anyway.

That Tesco will happily deliver a booze

carry-out to my door as I shield during chemotherapy is neither a comfort nor a convenience. Alcohol interferes with the effectiveness of treatment.

My sister, who gave up smoking for health reasons many years ago, recently said that if she was told the world was about to end she’d grab a packet of cigarettes and smoke them all.

My own choice would be a few glasses of chilled cider. The problem is that I haven’t been told the world is about to end. My treatment is working and prolonging my life.

I haven’t had an alcoholic drink since March, which is the longest abstinence of my life since my teenage years.

In my many years as a journalist I have known a great many colleagues who have died from their love/addiction to booze. Indeed, one old photographer pal defied medical advice to stop drinking his daily cargo of gin. He instead swapped the tonic mixer for a substitute he reckoned would be kinder to his gut. In those days no-one even raised an eyebrow when he walked into Glasgow’s most renowned press bar and ordered a large gin and milk.

There’s no doubt the situation across the country today is altogether on a different scale. That thousands of jobs are on the line as pubs and brewers face commercial wipeout is serious.

The rules of restriction to stem the spread of coronavirus can sometimes seem incredibly inconsistent to common sense.

It seems more and more people are arguing with every step of guidance and defying the advice that is coming our way.

But this is not the time to switch to gin and milk – it is the time to comply with advice and hope that we can get through this winter with as few victims as possible, and live to raise a toast in happier times ahead.

Ally McLaws is managing director of the McLaws Consultancy, specialist in business marketing and reputation management. View all previous issues of this column at