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Time Gentlemen Please

It seems that England has a Drink problem; in fact it is so bad that yesterday David Cameron labelled Alcohol abuse the “Scandal of our society” and claimed it is costing Britain £22 billion a year.

In the not too distant future the Government should be publishing a strategy, which has been thrashed out between the Government, The Drinks Industry and Health Experts, and it seems one of most talked about strategies is a Minimum Price per Unit.

I personally object to the idea of the government being able to tell me how much I can drink, I think frankly its none of their business, and I find the idea that they can tell retailers how much they should or shouldn’t charge outrageous . With the amount of Tax already levied on Alcohol  making Britain one of the most expensive places in the world to drink it stands to reason that a change in price really isn’t going to effect this “issue”

If price was enough to stop us from having a drink then there is no way I would have paid £3.85 for a Pint of Fosters at the Tottenham on Thursday afternoon.

And another thing this £22 Billion a year, based on what? I mean give me a breakdown and perhaps ill entertain this idea, but much as with the Smoking argument, us drinkers pay more tax and apparently live shorter lives so actually we are a better bang for our buck than you healthy types.

But the catalyst for this sudden media frenzy on Alcohol has been the release of the Statistics on Alcohol England 2011 Report an interesting if uncomfortable read. But strangely not uncomfortable in the way you may think. Below I have listed a number of results from this report that if we didn’t know better we would never know.

·         In Households with a gross weekly income of over £1000 46% of men and 44% of women reported drinking over 4/3 units on at least one day. 16% and 27% of  men & women respectively more than households with an income of £200 or less a week.
·         There has been a 10%DECREASE among 11 to 15 year olds who have ever had a drink, continuing the downward trend since 2003
·         The most popular drink amongst children is beer, larger or cider NOT Alchopops
·         22% of alchahol supplied to pupils was provided by parents
·         There has been a pronounced change in men aged 16 to 24 drinking over 8 units on at least one day in the previous week, decreasing from 32% in 2008 to 24% in 2009.
·         Those aged 65 and over were also more likely than any other age group to have drunk on every day of the previous week; for example, 19% of men and 10% of women aged 65 and over had drunk every day during the previous week, compared to 2% of men and 1% of women aged 16 to 24.
·         The proportion of adults who reported drinking in the week prior to interview has decreased since 1998   

So, Kids arnt lapping up Alchopops, OAPs are drinking more often than teenagers and just shy of 1/4 of underage drinkers are provided with their booty by their parents, not the picture the governenment would have you believe.

Most European countries have laxer licensing laws and lower drinking ages than we do and yet do not suffer the same yobbish behaviour that many of us are privy to on a Friday night in our local town, if this is the case what makes us think that , Booze Buses, Drunk Tanks and Price Fixing are going to make things better.

What we need to do is deal with the people who are out causing these problems with proper punishments, Ive been so drunk that I don’t remember 100% of the night before, but as of yet I have managed to not be arrested, Harm someone else or commit acts of criminal damage and I’ve never missed work due to a Hangover. And yet potentially I should be expected to pay more for the privilege of having an alcoholic beverage simply because a few people who let’s be honest  have “personality issues” with or without alcohol, cant control themselves.

But let’s be honest why am I defending an addictive “drug” which causes

  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Increase in breast tenderness
  • Restlessness
  • Mild insomnia
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood sugar
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Mild stomach upset
  • Panic attacks
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Continuous stomach problems
  • Prolonged depression
  • Sleep disorders
  • Cancer
  • Increased Cholesterol
  • Iron deficiency anaemia
  • Coronary Artery disease

Oh no damn it I copied and pasted the Coffee list, maybe Starbucks should be prepared!

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