Monday, March 16, 2009

The freedom to get trashed should not be removed

Now that the weekend is over, and a number of stipidly cheap, yet good quality wine has been consumed from the booze cruise supply, I thought it would be appropriate to pass comment on the 'minimum prices for alcohol' story.

Since it was floated over the weekend there has been some hefty rowing back by yhe Government which is covered in the press today. The row back is welcome to be fair because the proposal is nothing but price control. Go that way and what next? Maximum prices for goods too and comeback of the Bay City Rollers?

However, the language that has been used in the dismissals is even more worrying because it reveals the attitude that the Government to us, the overtaxed, already pushed to the wire, proles. James Purnell told the BBC, "we want to focus on the irresponsible minority rather than I think punish everyone equally.'

Punish? What are we now, naughty schoolchildren? He didn't stop there either, he said that didn't want to 'punish the majority for the sins of the minority'. Sins? Did I read that right? It is now a 'sin' if you get absolutely rat-arsed and so you should be 'punished'? How is it that in the 21st Century we have puritans running the country?

My body is my own and if I want to subject it to copious amounts of alcohol, or drugs, or whatever, that is my choice. Over the weekend I hear that Cameron apologised for being in a cosy economic consensus for a number of years, he should also note that on this issue he's in a cosy anti-freedom consensus too.

The Tories, whilst not supporting the minimum price proposal, wants to have targeted tax increases on drinks aimed at young people. Has no one realised that the young people will just drink something else instead? As for the Liberal Democrats they are just as bad if not worse.

The whole political class is determined to remove the freedom to get trollied and its made clear if you try to get wasted you will be punished. How did the puritans take control of the asylums?

Note: sent from phone, typos to be corrected later.


Guy Herbert said...

D'accord. The Today programme carried a report of this this morning which began with the pronouncement that while Donaldson's proposals were bound to be controversial, no-one is tolerant of the consequences of alcohol abuse.

Well I am. They only sure sign you have liberty is if some people are taking liberties. The trick of a free society is to deal with the consequences of that and hold people responsible for their actions insofar as they affect others.

I've had as much as I can take of these Calvinist moralitarians who would compel us all to live a long, safe, hard-working family life, interspersed by decorous state-approved and certified community activities.

Elby the Beserk said...

I have advocated for a long time that our new puritans (New Labour) should be fucked off to the USA like their forebears.

Lizard Watcher said...

"...and comeback of the Bay City Rollers?"

Bay City Rollers? No way... we want Slade.

Cheap booze is the only thing that has enabled me to cope during the last 12 years of Labour misrule. Without it I would have either gone bonkers, or topped myself.

Lizard Watcher said...

"...and comeback of the Bay City Rollers?"

Bay City Rollers? No way... we want Slade.

Cheap booze is the only thing that has enabled me to cope during the last 12 years of Labour misrule. Without it I would have either gone bonkers, or topped myself.

Anonymous said...

This measure won't be adopted though, for the simple reason that it would be illegal under EU legislation, as was pointed out to the SNP when they proposed it.

Funny how the EU dimension gets ignored all over the MSM

Anonymous said...

Actually the berk said "publish" and the subtitles agreed with him!
This idiot govt can't even speak properly!

BTW the subtitles are very illuminating. It's interesting to see sometimes how the newsreaders on BBC stray from the script on some items.

DiscoveredJoys said...

I expect Purnell wished he had said 'penalise' rather than 'punish'.

'Punish' makes the Governments attitudes to its clients only too clear. Naughty schoolchildren not behaving like teacher wants!

Just as charities tend to evolve from good works into lobbying, governments tend to evolve from running the infrastructure to running individuals lives.

Ask yourself if the NHS was broken up and privatised would the Government still be so concerned about peoples' health? I don't think so. I don't recall seeing as much 'public health education' about dental decay or looking after your eyesight now that dental and optical care is mostly through private provision.

AndyR said...

I assumed the "sin" was to become aggressive or beligerent or fight or destroy property or require emergency treatment.

dizzy said...

Many people get bladdered and drink "irresponsibly2 and don't do that

AndyR said...

They're not talking about banning alcohol. Just making it more expensive to wreck your own health.

dizzy said...

actually if you think about it the framing of this debate is exactly how the smoking ban came about. government saying it is its job to stop you harming yourself. it is not.

also if you read the post fully you will see it takes the starting point about the idea that those who drink what they consider to much and too cheaply need to be 'punished'.

i accept that my choice of headline should probably have said 'the freedom to get trashed on the cheap should not be removed' but it was quite early when i wrote it.

AndyR said...

No problem with the headline... it's a political blog (mostly) so we are used to a bit of mischevious spin :-)

It's definitely not the government's job to prevent people harming themselves. It's not even physically possible. But I thought there was a general consensus that the government should try to promote better public health through policy and education.

If higher alcohol duty means less alcohol-related illness, which could reduce NHS costs... isn't that reasonable?

And I'd disagree with your assessment on the smoking ban. As a never-smoker, I can finally have enjoyable nights out without choking on other people's smoke. My mother, an asthmatic, can dine in public restaurants now.

The smoking ban and alcohol duty aren't actually stopping anyone from smoking or drinking to their heart's discontent. It's just trying to make life a little better for the rest of us.

Thatcher-right said...

Home-brew here we come. I'm pretty sure you can make a lethal (both figuratively and literally) brandy with Aldi apple juice and a freezer.
When they tried this sort of thing in Russia all the shops ran out of sugar!

James D said...

Okay, if they really believe that bovinity, they could make beer on gravity or hand-pump tax-exempt tomorrow. And pigs may fly.