Apparently a ‘health watchdog’ has joined the calls for a minimum price on alcohol in England (BBC News). It says; “A minimum price for a unit of alcohol should be introduced to help tackle the rise in problem drinking in Britain” (NICE).
I have to agree with the British Retail Consortium (BRC) who believe the course of action; “will do nothing to tackle the small minority of people who drink irresponsibly”. The phenomenon of the ‘Booze Britain’ culture is synonymous with a lot of the other negative anti social traits within our society. Many of theses have a direct correlation with; poor parental guidance and control, failures in policing and the legal system and, a far too liberal society. One that is happy to accept the individual ethos of; sod you, I’ll do whatever I want and bollocks to you if you don’t like it.
I commented earlier in the year (More Booze Tax?) on the misguided belief that; increasing the price in alcohol will in some way tackle the problem drinkers. I say again, IT WILL NOT. Let us look at the problem of smoking by way of example. Cigarettes are now taxed to extortionate levels never seen before and the government has introduced laws that make it illegal to smoke more or less everywhere. However (in some areas of the country) smoking amongst the young is actually increasing, especially females?
The answer to the problem is getting our society to actually believe; getting totally shit faced and off your head every weekend (and several nights in between) is socially unacceptable. Boozing to excess has to be seen as stupid and dangerous as opposed to cool and fun!
Difficult… Especially in a society that has moved away from the calm and collected traits we used to display. Now large proportions of that society (especially but not exclusively the young) are loud, brash and angry (especially in drink) and, take pride in doing everything to excess if at all possible. Listen to any group of teenagers talking and you get; “like last night was absolutely fucking awesome” and not, “had a fun night”. A simplistic example but one which is indicative of how their lives are expressed. Everything has to be fast-moving, loud and totally OTT, if it isn’t it’s just plain boring!
Kids are growing up with the expectation that; they can do anything, get anything (or anyone), be rich, be famous and don’t actually have to do much to get there. Who is to blame? We are and by we I mean, parents, teachers and the media. We consistently train our offspring (consciously and subconsciously) that they can have whatever they want without actually having to earn it. A point that, baring a lottery win or a legacy from some rich relative, is actually a fact of life! It is also a factor which often induces their anger, especially when they don’t achieve their materialistic goals. I am straying from the point slightly.
An increase in the price of drink won’t change Britain’s booze culture. It will have little or no effect on those it is aimed at i.e. the young and irresponsible. They will still get drunk and off their heads even if they have to steal to do it, alcohol is a drug like any other, those who are totally imersed in the culture don’t stop because someone makes it more expensive, or illegal.
The only sector of the community who will suffer substantially are those responsible drinkers who like to have a drink or two in a relaxing social environment, be that at home or in a bar. They are the ones who will look at their limited dispossabble income and decide, do I go for a drink or feed my family? The remainder, who the changes are actually aimed at will still drink. They either don’t have any dependants or if they have, just live in hope they can get a loan from their family (or the DHSS) to feed the family. After all, having fun is much more important than family and social responsibility… Isn’t it?
Come on… Bash the irresponsible boozer not the booze!