Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Speak Up and Say Enough is Enough

Have a look at the latest video from the Drinkers Alliance. It certainly sums up my feeling on the subject. Rather than punish everyone for the anti-social behaviour of the few, wouldn't it be better to make laws which punish those who do offend? Oh, I forgot, we already have such laws.

Lock up drunks instead of taking them to A & E. If there aren't enough cells then sort that out. Fine them heavily - so it really hurts - and if they are on benefits then deduct the fine from their benefits.

Until we tackle the causes of the problem it will still be there. Increasing the price of alcohol will do little, if anything, to resolve Scotland's relationship with drink. If someone wants to drink they'll find the extra money.

Our political representatives should stop the pussy-footing around, be firm with those who offend - deal with them - and leave the rest of us in peace to make our own choices in life.


Jeanne Tomlin said...

This is one I have to disagree with you on, Subrosa, and only listening to the people who make HUGE profits off this poisonous stuff might not be the place to get your information. You might want to also publish the reasons why police and nurses and doctors SUPPORT the idea.

Let me as you this. Why are the prices on the CHEAPEST alcohols now less than they ever have been? Why do so many markets use drinks as loss leaders?

Just something to think about. You're right on one thing. There are already steps in place. They haven't worked. So maybe it's time to try something else.

Dark Lochnagar said...

Sorry Rosie, I can't agree with you on this one. I've argued it out often on my own blog, but as someone who has problems with drink, I think I speak from a slightly different viewpoint. Notice I say has problems not had problems, because there is no thing as a recovering alchoholic. Once an alchoholic you are one for life. There is no doubt that drink is too cheap now and I don't mean premium brands in the Supermarket or in pubs but the promotions that you see in Supermarkets where drink is cheaper than bottled water, are ridiculous. Kids are getting pissed up on cheap booze before they leave the house to go out and by the time they pop a few pills they are off their heads. How many off-licenses to you see now? What happened to Haddows, Threshers, small independents, mostly gone by the wayside in the onslaught of cheap drink from the big four supermarkets. This is not about you having a few Amontillados before your dinner. It is much larger than that. Look at what is happening to Scots in a country that we both love dying early in ever increasing amounts from drink. This ad from the 'drinkersalliance' or whatever, will have the drinks industry behind it pumping in money, just as they do to the politicians of this country meaning in particular the UK. Ask the Lord Foulkes when was the last time he was at a promotion paid for by the whisky association?

Leg-iron said...

Two litres of bottled water in Tesco currently costs 17p. The 'drink is cheaper than water' meme isn't true and never has been.

If you crank up the price, what will happen is that dodgy gangs will produce moonshine and sell it cheap. It will be unregulated, of undefined strength and very dangerous but people will buy it anyway.

Ban alcohol altogether and you'll hand the entire industry to the criminals. They don't care if they kill a few customers. Bad press? So what? They are already criminals.

It happened during prohibition in the US and it happens now in officially alcohol-free states like Iran.

Subrosa is right - most of us who like a drink don't follow it up by smashing shop windows and beating up strangers. Most of us just... go home afterwards.

Those who cause trouble should be dealt with using the laws we already have in place to deal with them.

Instead, this government will punish everyone and do nothing at all to fix the problem. Those violent drunks will simply be violent on another source of alcohol. An unregulated one.

Jockdownsouth said...

I wholeheartedly agree with you Subrosa. My wife and I regularly holiday in Alcudia, Majorca. In even the small supermarkets we can buy litre bottles of 4.8% or stronger beer for not much more than one Euro. Local rum is about 8 Euros per litre. The local youths don't rampage after they've had a few too many. I imagine the Policia Local would have something to say if they did. We don't see many drunk Brits either. That would indicate that Brits with a proper sense of responsibility can cope with cheap booze prices. These drink prices are far lower than any I've seen in the UK. An obvious difference is that drinkers of all ages are expected to behave and the law deals effectively with those who don't. Is that perhaps what we need in the UK? (not just Scotland by the way). I object strongly to the idea that I should have to pay more to drink responsibly just because the powers that be can't be bothered to enforce existing laws properly.

Allan said...

Completely in agreement here.

The regulations on Alcohol pricing was never going to be the silver bullit that many on the SNP benches thought it would be, it always needed to be part of a raft of policies on tackling Scotlands alcohol problems. Now that the EU has rulled it out as uncompetitive, it's time to move on and look for other solutions.

You do point out there are steps in place, prehaps it's not that they don't work but our Police forces are reticent to use these powers.

On a slightly diferent issue, why don't the police "lift" underage drinkers?

subrosa said...

Jeanne, part of the problem is that we've encouraged people to drink to excess.

When I was young (I admit a long time ago), drunks were regarded as sad and sometimes offensive. Nowadays it's neither.

Governments have allowed drink manufacturers to allow 'cheap'
drinks onto the market - nobody else. They could have done something about it years ago and controlled the producers, but they didn't.

The steps in place is because it's so much easier for our law enforcers to pass over a drunk to the health authorities. That shouldn't be.

subrosa said...

DL, I'd prefer to email you with the details of my decision. Suffice to say I've been exceptionally close, throughout my lifetime, to two people who are/were alcoholics (one is dead).

Drink has always been cheap in the past 40 years. Governments have control over what supermarkets' behaviour but they're afraid because it could cost them funding and votes.

What is needed is what happened in my day. A drunk was locked up. I remember two laddies back in the 60s when I was a teenager being put in the cells at Peebles overnight. Both are now highly regarded businessmen now and I know one said he could have taken to the drink path of it wasn't for the 24 hour hell he had in these cells. I'll email as to why I've decided against an increase in drink, although I'm sure governments can insist cheap drink is banned. It is in some European countries so why not here?

Alex Porter said...

I will say this about this subject: I've had real run ins on this subject. It seems to be a burning issue that makes people fall out. Indeed, I've been bumped off of someone's blog list for daring to hold a contrary opinion on the subject (no names;)

Personally, I will have no truck with penalising the poor with minimal prices. I think this is all about attacking an easy target. Alcohal abuse is a symptom not a problem. By attacking the symptom we let those who benefit from a system of income distribution which is almost feudal.

Simply put, when people are happy they don't abuse alcohal, wives, substances or other people. People drink to forget and often their unhappiness spills over in anti-social ways.

On another point, I think that government should restrict its activities to what it's good at and telling people what to eat and drink is not one of them. We've survived with alcohal for thousands of years before we ever had a welfare state. If people have problems we have community organisations, priests, friends, family and other nets to protect us.

With all the cctv cameras, wars, bankers robbing us and corruption, I think the last people we should turn to for advice on the subject is government..

What's wrong with us that we need legal bodies to sort out all our pet hates? Whatever happened to community?

subrosa said...

Leg-Iron, as you know I've taken some time to make a stance on this and I now agree with you.

I've read all the pros and cons and spoken at length to those very close to me and those youngsters who drink.

The teenagers say if they had to pay a financial penalty then they'd certainly think twice. A night in the cells and they'd ensure they'd never get drunk again. What does that say?

subrosa said...

Allan, the lifting of underage drinkers isn't a different issue, it's part of the problem.

The law isn't being enforced.

I read somewhere (can't find where) that the police don't have the cells any longer to house drunks overnight - they've been made into offices for tick boxers.

Time they came back.

As for governments allowing 24 hour drinking in a society which has a drink problem. Very few protested. Why not for goodness sake? That could have saved a lot of regular drinkers becoming alcoholics.

subrosa said...

Alex, I won't bump you off this blog because you have an opinion contrary to most or some so no worries there.

In some ways I understand your reasons but somehow the poor have to understand they're doing serious damage to themselves drinking cheap booze. The problem lies with the social engineering we've gone through in the past 40 years. Drunks are made to feel drunks and have no hope. AA helps to a degree, when someone wants help, but that's only a few.

Alex community doesn't exist anymore. It's part of this social engineering I mentioned. Governments don't want us to trust each other or socialise together anymore. Communities are really no longer. People keep to themselves, in their own frightened boxes.

subrosa said...

Hi Jock. We're singing from the same hymn sheet but so few do. I have to give credit to those who do like leg-iron etc.

It's all down to law enforcement. Scotland ma have more police on the streets but has drunkenness reduced? I doubt it because all they do is phone an ambulance and have the drunk carted off to A & E where they can become a threat to staff, they take up valuable medical time and also I'm sure their presence has cost the lives of some who really required clinical treatment.

banned said...

As a formerly active alcoholic, currently one 'in recovery', might I say that minimum pricing could possibly reduce a weeklong bender to a six day one for the simple reason of running out of cash. You might as well promote taxing everybodies food to the level where overeaters run out of money before they eat 'too much'.

As for the youngsters who have always obtained alcohol and always will, minimum pricing will simply add to the amount of 'anti-social behaviour' that they need to indulge in so as to get it.

If I were a parent I might be worried about how to feed the children or buy their shoes if the govt. insisted upon stealing yet more of my money in this way.

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