Monday, 16 March 2009

I am not a binge drinker - why should I be punished?


Well this weekend we had the ridiculous proposal for a the introduction of a 'minimum price' for a unit of alcohol to cure binge drinking.

However realising the political damage that such a proposal would have the Government are currently back peddling to distance themselves from it.

The problem with the proposal is many people are asking "Why should the majority of the public who are responsible drinkers be punished for the actions of a minority?" It is also obvious that the prosperous in society wouldn't be inconvenienced in the slightest by this "minimum price" so it would be another tax on the law abiding poor.

The price and availability of alcohol are often cited as the main reasons for binge drinking and the anti-social effects it has. Ironically it was this Labour government that relaxed the licensing laws in 2005 to bring 24 hour alcohol availability. It was claimed at the time it would reduce binge drinking, people were seduced by the promised 'cafe-culture' seen in continental Europe.

Well clearly that utopia never arrived and back in 2007 Gordon Brown said binge-drinking was "unacceptable" and that he would "not hesitate to change policies" if he thought this was necessary.

Well despite these promises they seemed to have done nothing, even Cabinet Ministers now admit that they are bereft of ideas on how to tackle the problem, but they seem hell bent on attacking the supply of alcohol rather than demand for it.

The most frequent reason cited for binge-drinking is escapism. Amongst bar staff, patrons, police and alcohol referral workers binge-drinking was viewed as a method by which people could temporarily break loose from their personal and professional responsibilities.

On bar manager was quoted

"People drink to escape their own lives — the problem has been developing over thirty years, it's a release for the working class to forget their hard monotonous jobs"
Perhaps the Government should address this factor? Other societies such as on continental Europe seem able to cope with a drinking culture without the accompanying mayhem we experience in the UK.

Is alcohol now the solution and a scapegoat for the anger, tensions, resentments and inequalities in today's society? Is 2009 society so dystopian that a large number of it's populace think their only means of escape is to drink themselves to death?

God I need a drink!

2 comments:

Matt Buxton said...

I am surprised the government has not introduced "alcohol entitlement cards" which log how much you drink, where and when. When said entitlement is exceeded, you'll be refused a drink anywhere. Then you'll be named and shamed on a government database, that a consultant put on an unencrypted memory stick and lost in a car park.

Andrew said...

Matt, sounds like a good idea!

No doubt the government surveillance system has already read and logged your comment and will be government policy shortly.