Christopher Lee writes from London: The British government plans a minimum price for alcohol. The idea is that it will put people off drinking large quantities of booze. This of course is stupid – a gimmick.
It’s an idea thought up by a fizzy-water-only special adviser in Cameron’s office who is so out of touch that he doesn’t even know that Louis Roderer changed the name of its best champagne from Kristal to Cristal.
One of the Downing Street acolytes beamed that any liver doctor would support the deal and that it was designed to protect people ‘exploited by the drinks industry’. The drunk is not exploited by the drinks industry. The drinks industry exploits the fact that the same fizzy-water advisers haven’t come up with a plan to change the circumstances in society that create so many drunks.
Instead of pointless ideas (unless a headline is the point) why not do what Kervin Julien of Anesis – the charity for the homeless – suggests and spend more time thinking through ways of mending the poor infrastructure of our society. This leads to people having low self-esteem. And this results in the hopeless ambition to achieve anything, anything at all other than getting out of their faces from dusk till dawn.
So when we get the predictable retail trade reaction that it’s the bars that see the drunks, then we have to pinch ourselves at the brass neck of some of these spokesmen. Do they know so little about the society that they feed out of a can or bottle that they’ve never heard of “pre-loading”?
Pre-loading is where (mostly) young people buy cheap booze from supermarkets, get smashed, then go clubbing. They’re face down before they walk through the bouncer door. We all know. We all know except the squeakies in Downing Street’s special adviser rooms.
And what about the gentle tipplers? Why should they have to pay for someone’s rotten liver? It may be just a London thing (unlikely) but the real bottle bashers are the City boys and tarts on mega money who could not care a toss how much the stuff costs.
The only people really supporting this are the Welsh Assembly lot. You’d never bother to ask a Welsh Baptist for the loan of a corkscrew would you now? But maybe the Taffs have got something. They’re not so far out of step with people like Julien of Anesis (not meant to sound like a saint). The answer to shredded livers lies in society itself and the way we live and the examples we set – although it may explain why so many more travel eastwards across the Seven Bridge than west.
Trebles all round but not fizzy unless it’s Krug – with or without a K.