Thursday 2 January 2014

Alcohol ration card proposals

A special report in Cumbria has recommended the issue of "Personal alcohol ID: everyone has one when they turn 18 they are used for every alcohol purchase regardless of age. This would mean a data trail of all alcohol purchased is kept (what alcohol, when, where etc). Could be given limitations by police for criminal behaviour" - direct quote from the report. This report, Our Life to Deliver: Talking Drink, Taking Action – The Barrow Alcohol Inquiry, was commissioned by NHS Cumbria and Cumbria County Council. It was based on a survey between May and July last year of 31 selected residents of Ormsgill ward in Barrow who, at 0.055% of a population of 57,000, no doubt represent a statistically valid cross section of the town.

Barrow Borough Council deputy leader and chairman of Furness Health and Wellbeing Board, Councillor Brendan Sweeney said: “It’s really important that people realise that Barrow has a vibrant lively night- time economy. I was surprised to see when I went out a few months ago how empty it was." Well, make up your mind, Cllr Sweeney: it's either vibrant or empty, but then what can you expect when he bases his pronouncements on going out once a few months ago. He expressed that hope that the Health and Wellbeing Board, working with police, licensees and bar staff - all that cross-agency stuff that they adore - could ensure "a better evening experience in Barrow".

Local MP John Woodcock regurgitated this utterly predictable gobbledygook: “It is clear from the recommendations that we need a real cross-cutting effort in Barrow, bringing together communities, the health service, schools, colleges, police and employers to improve awareness, education and treatment.”

The report does not say what the purpose of the ID cards would be or how the information gathered should be used; neither does it suggest how such a measure could be implemented, how they could force all retailers to take part, or what is to be done with visitors to Barrow. In fact, it is a typical muddled product of a focus group assembled to provide a pretence of credibility while being steered by facilitators towards predetermined conclusions. If that sounds too cynical, consider whether they'd be happily publishing the report if the participants had come up with the "wrong" conclusions.

This suggestion is probably going nowhere, but the fact that such proposals have been published may lead the Nanny State Tendency to take them up at some point in the future to lobby for alcohol rationing, perhaps beginning with young drinkers and people with criminal records and then broadening its scope. It's wise not to let the sheer stupidity of an idea lull you in to thinking it could never happen.


  1. And they say a camel is a horse designed by a committee? A really credible report as well, and truly representative at 0.055% of the population! I'm sure the worthy citizens of Barrow will be delighted to see their taxes being spent on this sort of garbage.

    Joking aside, I too can detect some sinister and potentially worrying undertones here, as once these crazy ideas surface they have a habit of not going away.

  2. Yes, easy to say "totally impractical, it'll never happen", but from small acorns mighty oaks do grow. The worrying thing is that people in positions of authority think such ideas are remotely reasonable in the first place.

  3. The shape of things to come. How else can they keep you to your 21 units?

    You can see fault lines. How would someone buy for a party? How can you buy a round ? Would you need to obtain all the ID cards to get them all scanned? How could they control homebrew?

    Having said that, it doesn't surprise me that some would consider it. The anti alcohol lobby are winning as no one is opposing them.

    The number 1 drinkers consumer union even thinks it can appease them and benefit from it.

  4. I'd agree that CAMRA was mistaken in trying to appear sensible in supporting minimum pricing, but at least the AGM in April decisively rejected that policy. We have no common cause with the anti-alcohol campaigners.

  5. Still all too common for CAMRA spokespeople to be making common cause with the anti-drink lobby against the evil supermarkets and alcohol being sold at "pocket-money prices".

  6. I can see it now on the Internet dating sites:
    'Beer drinker seeks partner. Looks and age immaterial but must be teetotal with unused Alcohol Ration Card.'

  7. Well, you'd see an incredible upsurge in bedridden grannies buying slabs of Carling and bottles of Smirnoff.

  8. The black market potential for flogging ones ration card would be one positive in this proposal, despite it being as tyrannical as socialism.

  9. There's always smack and crack.
    P.S. I've only recently discovered on a canal pub walk that The Martin Inn has closed.
    Keep up the good work.

  10. Ernesto again.Not good that Martin has closed.Always found it an interesting 'outlier' to visit from time to time.Hesketh Arms in Rufford is another I've enjoyed recently.
    Keep up the good work in 2014.


Comments, including disagreements, are welcome.
Abuse and spam are not and will be deleted straight away.
Comment moderation is installed for older posts.