I'm a Conservative, but on some aspects of life, usually to to with adults making their own decisions, I'm a bit of a Libertarian. When I read today that the Health Alcohol Alliance wants to see a rise in alcohol tax, my blood started to simmer. They are proposing a whole raft of policies that are not about adults making choices, but are all about forcing adults to behave as they see fit. They are using shock statistics like: 13 children are admitted to hospital every day as a result of Britain's growing alcohol misuse, and: the number of alcohol-related deaths has more than doubled from 4,144 in 1991 to 8,386 in 2005.
While those figures are indeed shocking, I don't see increasing tax and reducing the easy availability of alcohol as the correct solution. Restricting alcohol to adults disgusts me to be quite honest and it smacks of more interference from the nanny state. Raising tax will make not one blind bit of difference, I've been a bit of a drinker in the past and I can guarantee that raising the price of a pint of beer by 10% will have absolutely zero effect. Do they honestly believe that raising the cost of a pint from £2.50 to £2.75 will cut all alcohol-related deaths by between 10% and 30%? A 10% increase in tax will mean that it will cost you £27.50 to get a skin full instead of £25. Big wow. They are obviously living in cloud cuckoo land.
If the government want to make a difference they should get even tougher on anyone that sells alcohol to the under 18's. This should be combined with education and increasing the support for those that have been identified as having a clinical condition. The vast majority of people in this country drink sociably, but rather than tackle the problem where it exists, we see those who think they know better taking the easy option by trying to tax the rest of us into submission.
If kids are drinking too much, then the law is not being implemented correctly. If the number of drink related deaths are increasing, then those people are not getting the support they need. It is these problems that need to be sorted out. So until you do that - please leave the rest of us alone.
Please click on the picture to read the Beer Prayer.