Nanny Knows Best

Nanny Knows Best
Dedicated to exposing, and resisting, the all pervasive nanny state that is corroding the way of life and the freedom of the people of Britain.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Booze Matters - Responsible Drinking

I see that Nanny is whining on yet again about booze.

This time, playing to the gallery, Cameron is promising booze buses (very nice of him to lay on free transport to pubs), drunk tanks (dangerous to have a drunken tank trundle across city streets!) and Nanny's favourite idea minimum pricing on alcohol.

Cameron will say that responsible drinking needs to “become a reality”.

It is all very well saying that increasing the minimum price of alcohol will in some way act as a panacea for our nation's ills as perceived by Nanny. However, there are a number of problems wrt minimum pricing:

1 It doesn't work. Go to Scandinavia, where alcohol prices are staggeringly high. and you will see people drinking in toilets, brewing their own illegal hooch and importing gallons of duty free booze from Denmark.

2 Increasing the price of alcohol (via tax or legislation on retailers) is a form of regressive taxation. Yet "regressiveness is a four letter word when it comes to taxation".

3 Our "respected" MPs have the luxury of taxpayer subsidised booze (and food) in the House of Commons.

Will they be giving this up?

No, I thought not!

Hypocrisy at its worst!

4 It is not for the state to define what is or what is not "responsible".

5 Nanny whines on that the cost of treating booze related illnesses etc is around £2.7BN. This is more than covered by the £9.7BN raised by alcohol duties.

Funny, isn't it, Nanny claims to hate booze yet she is delighted to make money out of it?

6 There was a sixth point, but my cat distracted me. Please fill this one in.

In short, Nanny's plan will fail.

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  1. If Mr Cameron and the previous government hadn't turned our nation into such a depressing place to be, people would not feel the need to turn to drink to forget about the crap lives they have here.

    I do wonder what Mr Cameon is on; he's going to have a "Racism in football" summit; wtf?
    He is going to get the insurance companies in and tell them to cut the cost of motoring.
    He constantly has Dot Bloody Gov invading our homes via TV and radio telling us to do this or that........It is just like Labour never left office!

    Cameron, you are supposed to be a Conservative....You know, small state, low tax and freedom....Start bloody acting like one.

  2. Anonymous12:18 PM

    None of the measures proposed will go anyway towards curbing binge drinking.

    Pricing is not a contributing factor. As rightly stated, countries where alcohol is much more expensive than in the UK also have serious abuse problems. It is also true that in countries which have much lower alcohol prices there may be very few problems, except in resorts where during holiday season they may expect an influx of foreigners tanking up on the relatively cheap booze.

    In my opinion there is a cultural problem in the UK.

    In general, British people cannot handle their booze. They think that they can. They like to think that they are a nation of ‘hard drinkers’, but in reality they have not got a clue.

    It is unheard of to have an empty glass in front of you whilst in a pub. A finished drink must be urgently replaced with a full one. It is also unheard of to order a coffee or other soft drink during the course of an evening. Most pubs do not even serve coffee, and those that do will only do so reluctantly.

    The standard of food (if that is what you could call it) on offer in pubs is ghastly. Nuts, crisps, pork scratchings…….All total shit.
    The reality is that there is fuck all to do in a pub except drink, so why should it be a surprise that people get drunk?

    Compare that to the bars that you visit on the continent where reasonable food and coffee attract all ages. You don’t see people staggering out of those places wanting to fight and vomiting on the pavements.

    Similarly, those places in the UK where bar owners have tried to emulate continental bars and create a ‘cafĂ© society’ do not suffer from the problems that the ‘traditional’ boozers do. And perhaps they have also realised that there is far more profit in a kilo of coffee than a barrel of beer.

    I think that the problem could be solved with licencing. If an establishment is not prepared to offer ‘restaurant’ facilities, it should not get an alcohol licence.

    1. So you would abolish pubs that don't serve food?

      Many pubs do serve coffee, and indeed are happy to put booze into it.

      Wetherspoons serves food, but I have seen quite a few piss heads in there.

      Brits can handle booze far better than some (eg Americans), the fact is Brits drink far more in a "session" than others. Romans used to complain about this 2000 years ago, it 's who we are and what we do.

      The level of extreme drunkenness that is seen in some places is as a result of some people deliberately going out to drink to get flat on their faces (indeed they tank up at home before they even go out the door), it's a conscious decision made at the start of the evening by people who will not be stopped by serving food or coffee in bars/clubs.

    2. Toy Trumpet1:03 PM

      You're exactly right Ken. I have drunk, and drunk to excess in my youth. But I never set out of an evening with the goal of getting pissed. I set out to have a nice time, and overdid things along the way. Where did the "I'm going out to get hammmered!" culture come from? I don't think it's something that Dave can fix with a seminar and some higher drink prices.

      But I really appreciate you finding the data on the surplus of alcohol duty compared to the cost of dealing with it. It's the same stick they used to beat the smokers with, and it wasn't true that they were a drain on the NHS either.

      This is why I protested at the anti-smoking legislation, even though I quit smoking years ago...

      First they came for the smokers, and I did not complain, since I was not a smoker...

  3. Anonymous4:49 PM

    Would I abolish pubs that don’t serve food? Yes I would, they should go the same way as ‘gin palaces’ and opium dens.

    Saying that drinking excessively is ‘who we are and what we do’ is descriptive and does not do anything about the problem. The Romans also used to see the British as a national that painted themselves blue, but Brits have managed to stop doing that now.

    It is true that Americans are also hopeless at handling alcohol. Watch any bar scene on the TV and you will see the accurate portrayal where shots of the strongest possible liquor must be downed in one and quickly followed by several more. It should also be noted that in America the legal minimum age for buying alcohol is 21 and that for decades they have been trying to stigmatise even moderate consumption. Those measures have not worked, and they would not work in the UK.

    As you rightly state, a minimum price for alcohol is not the answer either, as people simply get tanked up on the cheapest booze available before going out.

    My point Ken is that you have to start somewhere, and changing people’s attitudes towards alcohol is more acceptable and probably more effective than restricting the sale or consumption.

    Having establishments that predominantly serve alcohol is a large part of the problem. I accept however, that it is not the whole problem.

    1. Tonk.7:04 PM


      I have read your posts, you make some interesting points.

      Where I live, (Wokingham) not one pub only sells booze, they all sell food and all sell coffee too.

      Is this a north/south thing? Most pubs within a twenty miles radius of me could not afford to open if they didn't sell food and, because so many do, there is a great deal of competition which drives quality up.

      What part of the country are you from because the picture you paint does not bear any resemblence to where I live and my experiences.

      Thanks in anticipation.

    2. Just because you don't like pubs (sans food) that is not a reason to shut them down, not all food free pubs are the centre of drunken "debauchery".

      The scenes of extreme drunkenness that the TV delights in showing us are caused by a loud minority of the population, who are determined (food or not) to get "shit faced".

      Punishing the rest of us, eg by closing pubs, because of these cretins is not the way to go.

      The fundamental problem that city centres have is that, for reasons best known to the councils, city centres have been stripped bare of variety (eg homes, restaurants, "trad pubs") and replaced with "yoof" bar after "yoof" bar after "yoof" bar (target market solely under 25's); ie they have become a magnet for the cretins.

      Change the make up of city centres (and have a mix of bars, restaurants, shops, residential etc) and social control will begin to exercise itself once more over people's behaviour.

      BTW, what is a "gin palace"; you're not Victorian Dad from Viz are you?:)

      wrt opium dens, as far as I am aware these places didn't cause any street related problems (even Sherlock Holmes frequented them:))

  4. Anonymous8:42 PM


    Our observations are worthless if they are just based on the areas around our homes, so where we live is irrelevant.

    I am sure that we have both travelled extensively around the UK, and we both know the type of pubs to avoid and in some cases whole areas that should be avoided too.

    If all pubs were pleasant, family orientated places like the ones that you describe, I am sure that there would be far fewer problems with binge drinking.

    1. I disagree; our experiences are about where we live. Most of the reality shows/news reports that show, no glorify, drunkardness come from northern towns where few people have jobs etc.

      I avoid what you call family friendly pubs; I went to pubs to get away from kids.....I accept that even locally to me, many good people took their families to pubs with beer gardens and had a good quiet, social evening but, now the so called family pubs are filled with chavs and their off-spring and that makes a pub very unattractive to me.

      We have all gone out at times in our lives and drunk a bit too much but, we don't riot, we don't fight, we don't smash the place up and Nanny needs to find out why that has happened....Is it a generational thing?.....Why do people go out with the intention of getting smashed now? I've never done it and neither have my peers. Why do so many women get smashed now? Why do they see it as acceptable behaviour when only a couple of decades ago, the feminists were knocking such behaviour because it was associated with males?

      Why has our society declined so much over the last three decades?
      Why have our city centers been allowed to develop into what so many have become? Why don't plod enforce existing laws?

  5. Howard10:58 PM

    I'll go for raising the duty on supermarket alcohol IF they will lower the duty on that sold in pubs.

    My town centre on a Saturday is infested by drunks aged 15 - 21, and they've probably only been to one pub. Reason they are in such a state? Because they tank up on cheap booze at home first.

    When I was younger our first pint was in a pub, and as the night went on the length of time queuing at the bar left less time for alcohol to be consumed, so soberity lasted longer!

  6. I'd like to say I am a responsible drinker...mostly because I have suffered from epilepsy since I was fourteen. I generally only have one alcoholic drink if I decide I want one. It helps that most of my friends are not regular heavy drinkers or are even teetotal.
    Our local is in a lovely old backalley; they sell a lot of nice food (steak!!) and do coffees too. But like Tonk said I am in the south - I'm in Winchester, even more south than Wokingham. (I was born there; Ye Olde Leathern Bottle still open?)
    Kids in pubs is understandable to a time but annoying. Why can't they do what they did when I was a little'un I wonder and have a 'family room' outside which the kids weren't allowed?

    1. Yes it's still open.......Expanded....Huge car park and a great selection of good quality food but, at it's core, it's the same.

  7. Julius Casar10:37 AM

    Anonymous, you stated "The Romans also used to see the British as a national that painted themselves blue, but Brits have managed to stop doing that now."

    Apart from my wife's mother!

  8. Anon's postings had me thinking last night; I suffer from insomnia and thus have plenty of time to think.

    I grew up in one of the roughest parts of London (Canning Town and Poplar) during the 1950s and 1960s. We were taught respect and the difference between right and wrong. Money was very short for most of my peers but most of us turned out OK. I left London'e East End in 1968 when I moved to Berkshire.
    In London, our pubs sold nothing but booze; men drank beer; Bitter, Light and Bitter, Stout, Brown Ale and a few drunk Lager. Few drank shorts. Most women drank G & Ts or VATs.
    The older men, and the landlord, yes Landlord not a manager, kept an eye on younger drinkers and would sometimes tell a youngman that he had had enough and should go home before he makes an arse of himself.....I could not imagine this happening now.

    I would imagine for those today that wanted to get drunk, they would stick mostly to spirits because it is physically difficult to consume pints and pints of beer unless you've practiced for a few years.
    There does now seem to be a trend for very strong beer, as a younger man, I can remember drinking mostly 3.2 to 3.8% ABV bitter, not the 5 to 9% that so many drink now.

    The reason I questioned whether it was a north/south thing is because when the state's broadcaster shows footage of out of control drunks, it tends to be places like Hull, Middlesborough, Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield etc not Southern towns or cities. I do accept that there is some bad behaviour in some southern towns; Portsmouth and Southend for example but, I do feel it is linked to the more deprived parts of the country where life is very depressing and unfulfilling, when many have abandoned all hope of a career etc.

    I don't know what the answer is but, I cannot see the logic in punishing everybody for the misdeeds of a few by trying to price people out of drinking. Problem drinkers will, as Ken rightly says, just find other means of getting their booze or perhaps they'll just change to another psychoactive substance that may be cheaper.

    We must hope that Mr Cameron does not have a knee jerk reaction to the shouty, single issue groups and make the situation worse.

  9. Anonymous12:00 PM

    As I wrote in my very first post, I believe that there is a cultural problem in the UK. Some of the subsequent posts seem to confirm that opinion.

    In the countries in continental Europe where they do not have a huge problem with binge drinking, families with children are welcome in almost every bar. It would be unheard of to have a separate area to segregate kids. Kids are also generally well behaved as they have grown up often visiting bars. If parents are too dim or preoccupied to stop their kids occasionally misbehaving the bar staff will often tell the kids to behave themselves, they have every right to treat kids as they would older customers.

    Today’s children are tomorrow’s drinkers and I think that they should be ‘educated’ to have a positive attitude towards drinking. I do not believe that can be accomplished by any other way than to ensure that all drinking establishments are child friendly and family orientated.

    I know that kids can often misbehave and be a pain in the arse, but I believe that they will continue to make nuisances of themselves until they adapt to the ‘new’ environment. Once that they realise that being in a bar is just a normal place to be I suspect that behaviour will generally improve.

    I don’t think that there can be any argument that present family orientated pubs have fewer problems with binge drinkers; so why not ensure that all pubs are set up in a similar fashion, where families are welcomed and encouraged? This would not be a huge problem for adults that don’t particularly want to mix with families, as not all pubs would be full with kids all of the time.

    I also realise that many youngsters get tanked up on supermarket booze before going out in the evenings, but just as it is true that people do not come drunkenly staggering out of family pubs, people do not go drunkenly staggering into them either. Getting plastered at home and then going out to walk the streets will soon lose its appeal.

    Would these measures solve the problem in its entirety? No, but I believe that it would be a step in the right direction and far more appealing than higher prices, more restrictions, more taxation, more laws……etc…..etc.

  10. Anonymous9:10 PM

    Guys, you're wasting your time arguing about this. The Righteous have turned The Eye from we dirty, filthy smokers to alcohol. Alcohol Concern (a 'fake' charity) has even teamed up with ASH (another fake charity) to learn from ASH's 'success'. For the non-smokers among you who are unaware of the MO here's a lesson.

    Alcohol probhibition, in all but name, is but a few years away (they're copying the ASH template but have the advantage of a media which are now unable, or unwilling, to critically evaluate the information which they spew). For those who aren't familiar with the term 'fake charity' it refers to an organisation which is set up as a charity but is no more than a front group for the government, a kind of political money-laundering. They can be recognised by the breakdown of funding, only a non-viable percentage of which comes from donation from members of the public. The rest comes from government (ie us) or private companies. In the case of ASH, private funding comes from the pharmaceutical industry (to which the NRT market is worth millions) and they receive donations from CRUK and the BHF (ie from people who think their 50p is going towards finding cures from cancer or heart disease). The government (ie we) pays such groups to do its dirty work: create demand for 'something to be done' about 'problems'.

    It really matters not a jot whether there is a real problem with alcohol abuse, ASH's template against smokers will be used against even the most responsible of drinkers. Look forward to denormalisation if you're not teetotal:

    - tv programmes which highlight the evils of drink
    - drink companies having to issue health warnings (already happening)
    - cost to the NHS of 'drink-related' treatments (already happening)
    - govt ads exhorting you to drink less (already happening)
    - health warnings on bottles of alcohol
    - photographs of dubious provenance which show the 'consequences' of drinking
    - alcohol-free bars (already happening)
    -change in classification of what constitutes a problem-drinker (already happening)
    -cultural denormalisation (the shrp intake of breath when you admit to not being tee-total)


    1. Yes Jay,,,,,,,,,And then they'll come for the fatties....(It has actually already started)

      Only behaviour permitted by Nanny will be tolerated in the future and that'll be;

      Be born,
      Pay tax,

      We are already seeing the demonization of the elderly and disabled as happened under Hitler.
      We see the state workers uniform everywhere; hi-viz.
      We see the marinalization of religion.
      We see the rise of thought crime; It seems the worst crime one can commit at the moment is to call someone names.
      We see assisted dying being mooted by some sections of the state machine.

  11. Anonymous9:38 PM

    Oh, I forgot to mention denial of medcal treatment on the grounds of poor outcome (no use protesting that you enjoy only as small glass of sherry before dinner) and unfitness to be a foster carer or adoption parent (more carcigonens are emitted from exhalation of alcohol than tobacco smoke and you are not a 'role model').

  12. Anonymous9:46 PM

    Anon 1.38pm - that was me but my first post, which was lengthy, seems not to have been posted! (I've not pressed the right button, have?)

    It took me some 30 minutes to write my first post and I dson't intend to spend another rewriting it. No doubt, it will be pertinent to write in the future!


    1. Jay your first post ended up being caught by the spam filter, I have now published it.