Wednesday, 6 June 2007
A couple of things
Drink. The recent report(ing) and measures to curb drinking are as usual flawed. The first thing to say is the Guardian report is accompanied by a picture of the naked torso of a man carrying two and half pints of lager (in skiffs). Yet the reports states that the at risk groups are young people and older people drinking at home. These groups don’t drink beer as a matter of course, it’s either alcopops or wine so why is the picture not of some midriff bearing 12 years old or middle aged female hand reaching for the wine box and the Pringles before settling down to watch Doc martin? (I refer you to the Saxon verses Normans debate) In fact if everyone drank beer, because it’s weaker and greater in volume and therefore more filling, drunkenness rates would go down!
Now, to look at the measures to fight this, taxing the majority of drinkers to tackle the behaviour the minority of “problem” drinkers. All the offences committed by drinkers and vendors are already covered by other laws. Throwing up in the street: illegal. Selling to minors is illegal. Selling booze to someone in capable is already an offence.
So what needs to happen is to target and sensibly enforcement existing laws before we start punitative taxation.
As for home drinking this is a tricky one because it is down to increased prosperity. I.e. the group that’s drinking too much are richer than before. In times past drinking wine at home was a rarity with a bottle for special meals or special occasions. Now a days wine is cheap and peoples buy it, like any other grocery in bulk. This group that are over indulging are doing so also because wine we drink is stronger than the blue Nun et al of yore. Many of this group aren’t sure what a measure is and drink huge glasses of wine. Also home drinkers are free from social stigma so can go to bed (or sleep on the sofa) plastered without the rebuke of their peers they would get down the pub. The only way to counter the home drinkers is to close tescos and sainsbury which is a good idea but isn’t going to happen.
The other problem with all this is the puritan mealy mouthed nature of New Labour and the double standards of the political classes in general with their late bars, Chianti sodden holiday homes and expense account mullard meals.