Thursday, November 29, 2012

Minimum Pricing on Alcohol

So, Cameron is a nannying statist who wants to stick a minimum price on alcohol per unit. What on Earth is he thinking? Does he think that this will result in fewer pavement pizzas and fat slags crying in the gutter on a Saturday night? Does he think there’ll be less violence on the streets after chucking out time on a Friday and less chaos in A & E over the weekend? If he does think that then he’s an idiot because the people responsible for that drink in bars where the price is already way above his damned 45p a unit.


Does he think that £2 on the price for a bottle of vodka is going to stop an alcoholic buying it? Does he think that ‘problem drinkers’ are going to alter their life styles because their weekly booze bill has gone up by ten or twenty quid? Well, maybe they will, maybe they won’t be getting the latest X-box, flat screen TV or maybe their kids will start outgrowing their clothes because, you can be damned sure that habitual drinkers will sacrifice other spending rather than the habit. Does he think that banning supermarket deals on wine, like three for a tenner or three for the price of two is going to do any more than piss off people who drink at home and cause no trouble at all?

Does he not realize that black marketeers – the same ones most smokers buy their tobacco from now – will be rubbing their hands together in glee? Has he, with his wonderful Eton education, not heard of Prohibition? Or was he too hung over after a night out getting pissed and trashing restaurants with the Bullingdon club to take that particular lesson in?

Really, it’s about time Cameron found his natural home in the Labour Party. There’s a place for him there, since that party doesn’t have a leader. Not that he’s much of a leader but I’m sure they could always find room for another advertising executive.  


Phil M said...

The politicians have been talking about this for a couple of years up here (Scotland). In some cases it's a good idea (especially alcopops, which are directed at the youth market) but as usual will penalise the normal, well behaved members of society. It would be far more useful to enforce the existing laws, drunk and disorderly, try to stop premises serving the really drunk.
Then we also have this nonsense of stopping the display of tobacco products. Even more bull to protect society from itself

Jezcentral said...

It's got to be a cash-grab. Higher prices mean more tax. No-one can seriously think adding pennies will make a difference...can they?

Unknown said...

Isn't Govt supposed to be the voice of the people? Govt isn't there to 'rule' the people! Someone needs to write a book about this!... oh!

LarryS said...

I do think they need to put an end to cheap booze and alco pops. I work in a supermarket that sells huge bottles of cider at silly prices, and it sells, often to kids who send someone older in to buy it. Booze needs to be prohibitively expensive, or done away with altogether!

robann said...

One of the problems we see in our local town center are young people (18-25) who get stupidly drunk at home and then head to a nightclub already smashed. The fights and pavement pizza are often happening before the clubs open when the bouncers refuse entry.

The reason they do this (more than people did 20 years ago) is that pubs are now taxed so highly (and have other red-tape costs) that few people can afford to have their pre-club drinks in pubs. This means that instead of teenagers drinking beer under the watchful eye of a landlord they get smashed on supermarket vodka at home.

Making supermarket vodka slightly more expensive isn't the answer. They have tried this in norway/sweden etc and it not only means that people import booze but they distil evil stuff in their sheds that makes them go blind.

It would make MUCH more sense to remove the tax that you pay on beer in pubs. This would encourage sensible drinking in a mixed, social environment. Teenagers are much less likely to go crazy if surrounded by older drinkers.

Unknown said...

A wonderful, at times coherent, rant! Seriously, I admire your passion!

The problem is that political parties of all colours want more than anything to be in power and so are chasing the middle swing voters who decide elections. Therefore all parties are virtually indistinguishable these days. Minimum pricing is probably originally a labour policy but it is a populist one and the Tories would not miss out on a good old chance to "dog whistle" to the middle ground.

Minimum pricing? Meh. It isn't going to affect anything I drink, apart from the fact that pubs, etc. will find it as an excuse to raise prices. It won't, as you rightly point out, stop the White Lightning drinkers either. But it will show how the Tories are tough on drunkenness and tough on the causes of drunkenness - and stop, for a while anyway, middle voters slipping away to labour.

Neal Asher said...

Phil, the problem here is that it's more legislation that isn't required if the laws we have are enforced - a bit like Leveson really. Whether alcopops or malt whisky - if you're not allowed to drink alcohol you're not allowed to drink alcohol. It's precisely the kind of social engineering the Conservatives criticised when Labour was in power.

It usually is a cash grab, Jez, but with a conscience salve of 'but we're doing good!'

Shaun, they pretend to serve the people by bowing to pressure from lobbyists and charities they themselves pay.

Where do you stop legislating for the lowest common denominator, Larry? Perhaps we should have minimum pricing on fat, sugar, the price of a car, sports equipment... Take away people's responsibility and you make them more irresponsible.

Quite right robann - prime example of unintended consequences. But the people who push for minimum pricing as one step on the road to banning alcohol completely, because bansturbators never stop, are probably quite glad about that.

Paul, it seems a great way to shoot yourself in the foot with the middle swing voters, since many of them probably go for the 3 for 2 at Tescos.

And of course, let's not forget: the amount people drink has been steadily on the decline anyway. We don't need this legislation. What we need is a government getting a proper grip on finances and encouraging businesses to make money. This is the opposite: both killing trade and increasing bureaucracy.