What do Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond have in common? Until recently the conventional wisdom would have been not a lot, with the former's speeches about Britishness in direct contrast to the latter's aspirations for home rule in Scotland.

How differently things look now in the dog days of August. Both men have made a perhaps unexpectedly sure-footed start to their new roles and indeed are currently enjoying a political honeymoon, in part the result of their respective handling of a number of domestic crises. Given that both men are in their fifties and from not dissimilar backgrounds in the industrial belt of Scotland, it is maybe not all that surprising that there are some areas where their policies are beginning to converge.

One such area seems to be a common distaste of cut-price sales of alcohol by supermarkets. A year ago when I first raised this issue in the columns of the Morning Advertiser, it was as much on the political fringe as some of the more hopeful one-man shows at the outer edges of this year's Edinburgh Festival.

Now the price of alcohol is very much in the mainstream of politics. On Sunday 22 July, 10 Downing Street planted a front-page story with The Observer. Three sentences at the beginning of the article put

the big supermarkets on notice:

"A crackdown on supermarkets that sell cheap drink to young people is being considered by Gordon Brown as he decides how to tackle Britain's burgeoning binge-drinking culture.

"There is growing evidence that many young drinkers are consuming cheap alcohol at home before going out at night into bars and clubs, where prices can be three times as high. Around half of all Britain's drink sales are made at the six major supermarkets, where drink is often heavily discounted in order to encourage shoppers into the stores."

North of the border, the new Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill has also taken up the political challenge. In Scotland, licensing boards have an explicit duty to ensure publicans are selling alcohol in a responsible manner. This is because in Scotland, unlike in England, there is a fifth licensing objective regarding the promotion of health. In their manifesto, the now ruling Scottish National Party promised to extend this duty to include supermarkets and the off-trade.

A petition from 1,000 sixth-formers demanding action on supermarket discounting made national news. Wherever he is enjoying his well-deserved summer break, Tesco chief executive Sir Terence Leahy should be reflecting on whether he is finally going to take this issue seriously, or whether he

will have to be dragged kicking and screaming

into some action, painted as the man who above

all others through discounted pricing is promoting binge drinking.