Thursday, 29 November 2012

Treating us like kids

As I'm sure you will have heard by now, Theresa May has announced a 10-week consultation on the proposal of a minimum price for alcohol of 45p per unit in England and Wales. Multi-buy promotions may also be banned. I have written on this subject several times previously and really can't be bothered going over old ground, but if you didn't see my words of wisdom first time round, click here to see my previous posts.

The Home Office says: "We are consulting on these measures because too many of our high streets and town centres have become no-go areas on a Friday and Saturday night." Do these people ever actually go out, or do they base their views on TV programmes that, naturally, only show the worst behaviour? After all, a programme that just showed people going to the pub, having a few pints, a laugh and a chat and then going home peacefully wouldn't make very interesting viewing. I do go out to pubs several times a week, including weekends, to my town centre and to others, such as Liverpool. It would be a lie to say I have never seen any trouble, but the last incident I witnessed is so long ago that I can't remember what it was.

Professor Sir Ian Gilmore of the Alcohol Health Alliance claimed that, "The evidence shows us that heavy drinkers and young drinkers are more affected by higher alcohol prices than moderate drinkers." Well, if you're talking about alcoholics, that's correct: they will spend even less on food and other essentials like heating and housing costs. They'll be affected all right, but they won't drink less. My opinion is based on having dealt with alcoholics through my job and having known a few personally. As for young binge drinkers, I doubt it would make much difference at all; only the onset of kids and mortgages will do that.

I'll just quote David Cameron, and for once I agree with him: "The big society is about changing the way our country is run. No more of a government treating everyone like children who are incapable of taking their own decisions. Instead, let's treat adults like adults and give them more responsibility over their lives."* 

Yes, David, let's.

* The Observer 12 February 2011 - the full article is here.


  1. You're right, Nev. This measure won't work. If alcoholics have to pay more for their booze, then they'll pay it. The late night clubs, from which anti-social drunks emerge in the small hours at weekends, will carry on as normal. There will always be shops and retailers who find a way of selling booze cheaply.

  2. Booze cruises and smuggling will become more attractive, thus depriving the Treasury of revenue. Yeah, good plan, Dave.

  3. All very depressing, isn't it? Even more galling for some is that it's Dave's modern Tory lot that have brought it in and not "nanny-state" Labour.

  4. The "defenders of the working class" won't be opposing it, though, will they?

  5. I've no idea who you're referring to Curmudgeon, as you can't be so naïve to be thinking of Labour's Shadow Cabinet, stuffed full of millionaires as it is.


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