Tuesday, 31 July 2007

How come the riot police never break up CAMRA meetings?

If everyone drunk ale instead of Stella Bleedin' Artois England would be a lot pleasanter place. As I've said before, ale is mellow cannabis in liquid form. Don't play into the alcophobe's hands!

Don't blame drinkers - it's the problem drinks
By Ed West, Daily Telegraph 23/07/2007

More bad news for Britain's drinking classes. Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam Donaldson has stated that he would "strongly commend" an increase in alcohol tax to reduce the soaring rates of drink-related illness, violence and hospital admissions.

This follows Iain Duncan Smith's suggestion of a tax hike on beer, wine and whisky to combat that British disease, binge drinking.

Booze, a vice enjoyed by yobs and Daily Telegraph readers, tends to divide the country not on Left-Right lines but according to the older divisions of Roundhead and Cavalier.

And the Puritans do have a point, as anyone can see by walking sober through a city centre in the early hours.

But is the violence really a direct result of drinking too much? Until very recently, the French consumed more alcohol than the British, and, though they suffer high cirrhosis rates, they don't end up brawling on the streets.

No one has used the term "the French disease" since the introduction of syphilis. That is because liver disease and violence are two different issues, one a private and the other a social cost.

I think the problem is what we drink. A pint of real ale costs just £1.99 in a Samuel Smith's pub in central London, but there's about as much chance of seeing a fight there as at a Jehovah's Witnesses gathering.

Tesco house wine, at £3 a bottle, is perfectly sufficient to make the day seem 10 degrees warmer, and the lunch party shouldn't end in fisticuffs.

However, there are problem drinks that deserve close scrutiny. The super-strength lager known as "wife-beater", alcopops, sugary sweet to make them more palatable to the kids, and brain-rotting cheap vodka; they are all draughts favoured by the trouble-makers - the under-agers, the abusive alcoholics, the fist-flying yobs.

Stereotyping drinkers as homogenous is a form of prejudice tantamount to alcophobia: punitive taxes should target the problem drinkers through the problem drinks. Why should the peaceful majority of the drinking community suffer because of a few extremists?

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