IMAGINE, if you will, walking into a city centre bar and ordering a pint only to get a large Dubonnet and lemonade instead.

You might be pretty miffed, especially if the person behind the bar said that it’s fine as all alcohol is effectively the same.

Under this logic, a cracking 40-year-old malt whisky is essentially the same as an alcopop so you shouldn’t complain when you order a Glenlivet only to get a Bacardi Breezer instead.

While this may all sound a bit far fetched, sadly, this is exactly what a Scottish Government proposal to ban alcohol advertising is using to help justify the effective prohibition.

The consultation states: “Without branding and other marketing strategies, alcohol products in each beverage sub-sector are essentially variations of the same thing.”

This sentence seems an extraordinary one to write by the government of a country which has a huge economic reliance on the food and drink sector.

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Exports of whisky alone are worth around £4.5 billion and our national drink is probably the thing most synonymously linked with Scotland.

Good malts are drunk everywhere in the world from Buenos Aries to Brisbane and from Moscow to Mumbai.

It is arguably more appreciated overseas than it is in its homeland but its value to the Scottish economy cannot be overstated.

It has official protected status too, putting it on a par with Parma ham and Champagne.

Yet, the Scottish Government lumps it in with lager, moonshine and hooch as having the potential to create death and destruction across the country.

But a good malt whisky has as much to do with dodgy retailers and the alleged Scottish “drink problem” as Rembrandt does to a teenager spray painting a railway bridge

Can you imagine the French Government placing clarets from Bordeaux in the same bracket as cheap cooking wine? Of course they wouldn’t.

Nor would they label Roquefort cheese – which is has to mature in caves around the village - as just cheese and classify it the same as Dairylea.

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In their increasingly absurd battle against the “demon drink” ministers are trying to completely eradicate the diversity and personality of individual alcohol products.

All they see is alcohol as a harmful commodity or a vice and fail to appreciate centuries of craft and enterprise that have gone into shaping the multi-billion industry.

Of course, Scotland has also seen a massive boom in craft gin production in recent years which are now also going global, as are many craft beers and lagers.

Scots are particularly good at making drinks that are enjoyed around the world and we are certainly on a par with other drink-producing nations such as France for having a global reputation for excellence.

Virtually everywhere you go in the world, there are adverts for Scotch whisky and they have helped sales grow globally.

But, according to the Scottish Government, “it is likely that alcohol marketing influences heavy drinkers and acts as an incentive to drink”.

Here in a nutshell is why the whole move to ban alcohol advertising and keep it out of sight is wrong as it focuses purely on harmful drinkers and young children, neither of whom should be drinking anyway.

The consultation goes on to acknowledge that it is a “whole population” approach.

Basically, because it can be rightly argued that some individuals can be affected by alcohol marketing and promotion, we all need to take the hit to protect them.

So, while we can make alcohol and send it around the world, we cannot be trusted to drink it sensibly here so it must be hidden away.

When enacting legislation, ministers seem to be increasingly led by campaigners who believe that something is bad and therefore it has to be banned regardless of the consequences for the economy or civil liberties.

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This week, of course, ministers effectively threw our other great industry – oil and gas – under the proverbial bus on the basis that the Greens don’t like fossil fuels very much.

But it is particularly the case for the anti-alcohol lobby as they believe that all alcohol is bad so drinks shouldn’t be distinguished from each other.

Ministers are also increasingly influenced by relying on “lived experience” in making policy decisions, which again is flawed approach as they are not representative of the population.

To launch a battle with one major economic powerhouse can be excused – to do it twice seems foolhardy, at best.