Jump to content

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

A Winter's Tale

Should Alcohol Be Banned?

Recommended Posts

If binge drinking and loading-up are the problems needed to be tackled, then surely the issue is not about raising revenue which cynical me thinks the latest announcement to justify a hefty tax hike?

The drinking culture problem is made easy and flouting the law and is virtually unchallenged by the authorities. When was the last time an offie or mini-market lost their licence and was fined heavily for supplying alchohol to underage drinkers? How does one stop purchase by proxy from such establishments?

The answer is zero tolerance to street disorder and public nuisance. If one is going to be arrested and put in a cell to 'cool off' then released without charge, what kind of message does that send out?

Perhaps a better approach would be to charge for the NHS services, ambulance attendance, police time etc. if a person is caught drunk and causing a nuisance in a public place?

This is about taking responsibility and accounting for ones actions. People choose to get drunk - all by themselves. The rest of society is left with picking up the pieces, cleaning up the vomit and urine and then paying for that priviledge.

ffO.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"The government says it is considering banning buy-one-get-one-free deals but, at the same time, it will allow half-price promotions."

erm... i'm no mathematician, but.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another stealth tax on the working man.

This is my surprise face.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Stealth tax indeed.

On the one hand i drink what most people categorize as expensive stuff (Koppenburg, Disoranno) so i shall be unaffected but on the other hand i am a Tory and oppose taxation in general.

That said, i would rather than poison was taxed to discourage people so were i voting for this i would abstain.

Just a note that any 700ml bottle of 40% costing over £10 will essentially be unaffected, not too sure about pints.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I find it raher difficult to answer the questions truthfully, as I do not wish to be seen as a kill joy but I have also witnessed the affect that alcoholism can have on a family. My mother-in-law unfortunately became an alcoholic towards the latter years of her life following a major operation and as a refuge from the trauma that affected her resorted to alcohol as a prop. Unfortunately as a result of her heavy drinking she fell in her bungalow, struck her head and died.

My middle son is a recovering alcoholic. He has not had alcohol for 10 months now and is doing really well. About 2 years ago he was so ill he was only given 2 weeks to live. Unfortunately people do not realise that addiction is an illness and once one becomes "hooked" there is no easy way of getting out of it. My son was desperate to stop drinking but like a publican said in another thread if the sufferer stops drinking the patient suffers fits and this is what happened in my son's case and hence he had to carry on drinking to stay alive.

His doctor was totally non-understanding and would not prescribe anything to help and in desperation he started getting agumentative with the doctor. The practice decided that they no longer wanted him as a patient and he was without a doctor for over 2 months and frequently suffering fits as he attempted to cut down little by little. In desperation with some of our life savings we got him into a local Priory rehabilitation unit for 2 weeks which we believe saved his life. In the interim I recall one occassion we took him to A & E and as usual there was a long wait. I explained the situation that he would be likely to fit if he had to wait too long and the solution from them was to take him home and get him another drink or two.

There is a total misunderstanding from a lot of members of the medcal profession as far as alcohol addiction is concerned. After my son left the Priory I attended fortnightly evening meetings where relations of alcholics could discuss their common problems. One of those attending was a GP whose wife was an alcoholic and he confirmed that he was fairly clueless as he had not received adequate training to deal with such a condition.

Unfortunately a fortnight was all that we could afford and it was not really long enough to secure a long term solution and after a few weeks he began drinking again.

A few weeks late my son was allocated another doctor and since then he has not looked back. The GP is very good and he could see that my son was a good person in spite of all his problems and that he was desperate to seek help.

Last May coincidently on his birthday his brother and I took him down to Devon for three months of rehabilitation and it has done wonders for him. I frequently tell him that it was the best birthday present that he ever had! He is now almost unrecognisable from those dark days of two years ago. He is currently attending College two days a week, one day to learn a plastering trade and the other to improve upon his written English. He has recently completed a computer course and hopes to undertake a more advanced one in the autumn. He hopes to get back into the workplace in the not too distant future but with the jobs market as it is that is currently not an easy proposition.

He still suffers bouts of anxiety and depression for which he receives medication, but these appear to be of less frequency as time goes by.

In the past I used to be very intolerant of alcoholics and drug addicts but today I am much more sympathetic to their plight. My experience and talking to others highlights how widespread a problem exists out there, and it is pot luck if the patient has a receptitive doctor. My son has been extremely fortunate and I am grateful for each day that now passes in which he does not wish to have a drink.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"The government says it is considering banning buy-one-get-one-free deals but, at the same time, it will allow half-price promotions."

erm... i'm no mathematician, but.....

HMG obviously believes that drinkers can't count...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On the one hand i drink what most people categorize as expensive stuff (Koppenburg, Disoranno) so i shall be unaffected but on the other hand i am a Tory and oppose taxation in general.

Same, at home I tend to drink spirits and Australian red wine whereas at pubs I tend to buy more expensive British produced ale / bitter as I don't like lager so I probably won't feel the pinch as much as younger people and non-functioning alkies who drink cheap stuff for the sole purpose of getting slaughtered.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re. Claret047's post #55, I don't see that as a killjoy post at all- alcohol ceases to be fun when it turns into a full-on addiction.

I have little doubt that FFO's suggestions would have been far more effective at reducing the overall problem as well as causing less inconvenience to responsible drinkers and pub-goers than Labour's "strictening ID" scheme. Unlike in many other circumstances I wouldn't object to a "zero tolerance" approach, as you usually have to be well out of order to attract police attention for this sort of thing and thus I can't see responsible or even borderline people being at significant risk of being caught out.

But New Labour were always strong proponents of legislating for idiots rather than legislating against them- that's why many of us can't get into pubs at all unless we bring passports around with us, while in the meantime anti-social drunkards remain commonplace.

Regarding the minimum pricing, my opinion on it will depend on how it influences the price of alcohol that responsible/moderate drinkers consume, in particular how shops and pubs will react- will they use it as an excuse to push prices up generally for instance? I would be more likely to support the measure if it was accompanied by a reduction in tax on the lower-concentration alcoholic drinks. If responsible drinkers end up only about £5 per year worse off on average (as some think tanks suggest) its penalisation of responsible drinkers may be more than offset by the benefits of the measure, but if it results in alcoholic drinks at the pub going up by 30-50% then I will find myself strongly opposed to it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps if nightclub prices weren't so exorbitant the 'need' for very cheap vodka and gin would lessen on its own? But HMG would lose a lot of VAT if it legislated that way, wouldn't it?

And my other question to Cameron is this: how much of this stealth tax will ever get anywhere near the NHS?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We need to change the culture towards drinking. Instead of being cool to get blasted it should be the opposit. You're an idiot and totally uncool. We have changed the attitude towards drink driving you will always get people doing. I'm pretty sure you can change the attitude to getting smashed as well. Going back to drink and driving I now find that bar tenders no longer make smart comments when you ask for coke it seems now perfectly acceptable.

I suspect breweries may be tempted to hike the prices a bit to keep the comparative gap between off licenses and pubs. I mean six quid for a strong bottle of cider is still cheaper that it would be at a pub.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We need to change the culture towards drinking. Instead of being cool to get blasted it should be the opposit. You're an idiot and totally uncool.

Which is how you feel when you don't drink on a night out unfortunately which is why that will never happen.

Though I tend to become mr smug in that scenario and no one likes a smart weeble.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is, indeed, difficult to resist the peer pressure to get absolutely "wasted". Since turning 20 I haven't encountered social rejection as punishment for not getting drunk, but there is still a tendency for many people to encourage binge drinking (e.g. if I haven't had any alcohol I should have some, and if I've had some, I should have some more, chill out and get absolutely pole-axed for once). In my late teens though the "get drunk or be ostracised" was not an uncommon problem in addition to the above.

It's another of those "just because you can do it, doesn't mean that it's right" issues.

I'm sure that the influence of alcohol does make many people feel high and very contented, and can make otherwise reserved people more sociable (thus adding to the benefit of a social event), but you only really need to drink two or three units at most to reach the so-called "tipsy" stage where those benefits take off. I reckon that, if people think about it, in most cases getting drunk doesn't really add to the pleasure, it's just "cool". The problem is having the inner discipline to say, "I'm having a maximum of three units of alcohol and after that I'm only accepting coke/lemonade"- I have personally managed it so far, but I won't deny that it's been very hard at times, particularly when it comes down to refusing a fourth alcoholic drink that someone has bought for you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I see this latest policy as a typical political knee-jerk reaction to appease certain elements of the media and pressure groups.

I seek solace in other failed govt high profile policies (both this govt and the last) - control of our borders, clampdown on benefit fraud, closing of tax loopholes, etc - the list could go on - this one will fail as well. The free market is far stronger than govt. in this day and age.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well I drink very little but I do smoke, its interesting that spirits are not seen as a health issue in the budget and now half a bottle of whiskey is cheaper then 20 cigarettes. I wonder which would kill you first: 20 fags a day or half a bottle of whiskey a day? Just imagine the moonshine industry, the country would be out of recession within a week and the govenment would have none of it :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

well i'm off to bed now- i'm drunk and i'm running out of fags....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They're never going to ban alcohol so what is the point? I mean, perhaps some councils could prohibit alcohol from being sold there, like some counties in the US do, but banning alcohol?

Anyway, I totally agree with another poster, our attitude towards alcohol needs to change, I actually agree with what Theresa May said, some people can't even go into their town or city centre's outside of daylight hours because they're usually full of screaming drunks. Only London and maybe a few other cities actually have anything to do past 8pm.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's a matter of philosophy.

Tax receipts for booze totalled £8.302bn, whilst NHS treatment for alcohol related illnesses cost £1.7bn. A similar argument can be made for smoking. Oh wait - you want alcohol banned, and the difference added to your income tax? 1.7bn, as quick back of a fag packet calculation, means 2% on the basic rate of tax. Or even better, reduce the personal tax allowance to about 5k.

Do the math. It's not hard. Don't forget to thank the smokers and drinkers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's a matter of philosophy.

Tax receipts for booze totalled £8.302bn, whilst NHS treatment for alcohol related illnesses cost £1.7bn. A similar argument can be made for smoking. Oh wait - you want alcohol banned, and the difference added to your income tax? 1.7bn, as quick back of a fag packet calculation, means 2% on the basic rate of tax. Or even better, reduce the personal tax allowance to about 5k.

Do the math. It's not hard. Don't forget to thank the smokers and drinkers.

not only that,-

"Organized crime received a major boost from Prohibition. Mafia groups limited their activities to prostitution, gambling, and theft until 1920, when organized bootlegging manifested in response to the effect of Prohibition.[56] A profitable, often violent, black market for alcohol flourished. Powerful gangs corrupted law enforcement agencies, leading to racketeering. In essence prohibition provided a financial basis for organized crime to flourish.[57] Rather than reducing crime it seemed prohibition had transformed the cities into battlegrounds between opposing bootlegging gangs. In a study of over 30 major U.S cities during the prohibition years of 1920 and 1921, the number of crimes increased by 24%. Additionally, theft and burglaries increased by 9%, homicide by 12.7%, assaults and battery rose by 13%, drug addiction by 44.6% and police department costs rose by 11.4%. It has been speculated[clarification needed] that this was largely the result of “black-market violence†as well as law enforcing resources having been diverted elsewhere. Despite the beliefs of the prohibitionist movement that by outlawing alcohol crime would surely be reduced, the reality was that the Volstead Act led to worse social conditions than were experienced prior to prohibition as demonstrated by more lethal forms of alcohol, increased crime rates, and the establishment of a black market dominated by criminal organizations"

not to mention the mass unemployment caused by wiping out the drinks industry!!

a ban on alcohol would be economic suicide

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's a matter of philosophy.

Tax receipts for booze totalled £8.302bn, whilst NHS treatment for alcohol related illnesses cost £1.7bn. A similar argument can be made for smoking. Oh wait - you want alcohol banned, and the difference added to your income tax? 1.7bn, as quick back of a fag packet calculation, means 2% on the basic rate of tax. Or even better, reduce the personal tax allowance to about 5k.

Do the math. It's not hard. Don't forget to thank the smokers and drinkers.

I suppose pension costs could be factored in too. People living longer is certainly becoming an issue with these. I guess healthy people who live longer could be considered a larger drain on the public purse?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep. Oddly, those living a lifestyle that sustains a longer life expectancy are the drain on public resources. And they are also the most pious and the most smug.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep. Oddly, those living a lifestyle that sustains a longer life expectancy are the drain on public resources. And they are also the most pious and the most smug.

I drink,albeit very moderately. I smoke (a lot), thrash a huge motorcycle and have a physically punishing job (which must be doing me some good as I'm 47 but am often told I look 27). But I'm tired and don't wanna live forever. Death holds no fear for me,only the mess and sadness I'll leave behind for others. I do fear the way I'll go; having spent about a month on life-support I really don't wanna go there again. Better to crash my bike into a wall at 150mph, yet I'd wanna say my goodbyes first. Speculating the appearance of the Reaper is futile I suppose,he may give notice of his approach or come like an assassin in the night. Who knows! Am I straying off-topic? Sorry... maybe this would be a good time for a career change - as a homebrew shop proprietor! Guess it wouldn't/won't be long before they start taxing all that stuff instead of treating it like food items. Gah!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
In my late teens though the "get drunk or be ostracised" was not an uncommon problem in addition to the above.

I never had that problem myself as a teenager or an adult though I had a lot of Muslim friends who didn't drink anyway (a few did, however), the pressure I felt was that I had to stick around as I didn't like leaving early but after a couple of hours of clubbing or whatever I would be bored silly and thus compensate by drinking more.

I reckon that is a big part of the so called drinking culture here in the UK, long nights out with absolutely nothing to do apart from drink. This is why I went off the pub / club scene in my early 20s and now prefer other social activities such as bowling or the cinema (Or both in my case since they are in the same building) and after work groups like astronomy or whatever because even though there are bars there I don't find myself drinking to excess due to getting bored to tears after half an hour.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your last paragraph produces a very good point- most pubs/bars/nightclubs do indeed have nothing to do other than drink and perhaps go dancing. I prefer the evenings out where I can go tenpin bowling or have a couple of games of pool, to add a bit more variety.

The problem there is a self-reinforcing problem where we've evolved a drinking culture and pubs/bars cater for it by providing little to do other than drink, which in turn reinforces the culture.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Speaking as old fart we could only buy takeout drinks from the outdoor sales of the local pub with very few other outlets 50 years ago.

Once the growth of independent off licence shops and then supermarkets got underway then drink became widely available.

This has enabled the younger people to preload before a night out and give encouragement to drinking in open spaces from cans and bottles by underage drinkers.

It would be impossible to reverse this trend now and i am afraid it is left to individual self control/education and heavier penalities for being drunk in public.

Withdrawing licences from clubs that allow customers in that are already drunk or serving when someone has had enough may be another idea.

The pub landlord used to police his own house like this in years gone by-why cant the modern establishments do this with all the security/bouncers they now employ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A customer who's getting sloshed but isn't causing any trouble a landlord will sell him beer happily. Suddenly refusing him/her may suddenly cause violence so they'll keep serving. If the customer becomes abusive before hand they'll stop serving.

Seen plenty of people extremely drunk and the only thing they've done is gone home quietly at the end of night.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×
×
  • Create New...