What the BBC refers to as ten radical solutions to binge drinking, those of a more liberal bent might just refer to as ten totalitarian interferences in our private lives:
- Subtly make drinks weaker
- Minimum pricing
- Get people back into pubs (yup, I had to clutch my ribs, too)
- Raise th legal drinking age
- Nationalise off licences (yes, really)
- Discourage rounds (nudge, nudge)
- Ban alcohol marketing
- Target middle class professionals
- Not in front of the children
- Stop exaggerating the problem
That last one is probably the only one worth any consideration. Otherwise, you get the usual dross so beloved by the prohibitionists, left overs from the anti-tobacco campaign. I just love the totalitarian approach being suggested as radical – nationalising off licences for example. Apparently it’s all the rage in Sweden. And, of course the nudge unit gets in with its suggestion of discouraging rounds. Frankly, I don’t much like rounds for the reasons given. I always felt pressured by them, so dropped out. See? It’s as simple as that. As an individual I made a decision. No need for a nudge unit and those who want to carry on buying rounds can do so. Fact is, it’s none of the government’s business. None of it.
But, but, but, that last bit is key. Alcohol consumption has been falling in the UK this past decade. Also we are not the top of the drinking league:
Figures from 2006 show that the UK was not even among the top 10 per capita alcohol consumers in Europe. And alcohol consumption has been falling here for the past decade. Beer consumption has been declining for decades. And last year for the first time, wine sales fell. Even the worry about youth drinking may be overdone. 2010 NHS statistics showed that 55% of 11 to 15-year-olds have never drunk alcohol, an increase on previous years.
So, what problems there are, are not as big as the media and government would like us to believe and what problems there are, are personal, individual ones. If someone drinks to excess and commits a crime, prosecute them for the crime. If someone wants to get sozzled at home, then that is their business and no one else’s.
Not everyone is convinced, though:
Misell accepts that the UK is by no means at the top of the drinking league. But he argues that people are still drinking too much. “There’s a big gap between the perception and reality of light drinking. For many it’s three or four pints. But the advice from the Chief Medical officer is 3-4 units a day for a man and 2-3 for a woman. In some cases two pints would put you over the recommended limit.”
Okay, I know I’ve said it before, but every time someone trots out this cack, I feel compelled to repeat it and I will keep repeating it until someone, somewhere takes notice. These guidelines are made up! Fiction! Meaningless artificial constructs with no scientific basis whatsoever!
Leave us alone already.
The last word has to go to someone called SeeDubya in the comments:
Curious name “Alcohol Concern”. It’s hard to think of something that is less of their concern than the drinking habits of somebody else.