Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Tory policy group wants to slap yet more tax on alcohol

One could be forgiven for wondering, what on earth the party ‘formerly known as the Conservatives’ that Dave the Chameleon leads should be called these days? ‘Symbol’ might do – something involving a white sickle and a hammer maybe - blue background of course. That tree thing looks like something a loan company would come up with…

The much heralded report by the ‘Social Justice Policy Group’, chaired by Iain Duncan Smith, former party leader, is recommending extra duty on drinks. An overall rise of 10% (3p on a pint of beer, 15 p on a bottle of wine and 25p on a bottle of whisky)

Their plan is to use it to double the amount spent on the treatment of drug and alcohol problems. Sounds sort of ok-ish on the face of it…

No doubt IDS has been listening to the Sturmtruppen of the BMA and their tales of out of control bloodshot eyed, wild haired, binge drinkers rampaging across the country, knuckles dragging with a broken bottle in one hand.

Exactly how are they defining an alcohol problem these days?

According to the Institute of Alcohol studies in 2003, the definition of binge drinking used as a benchmark in official national surveys is: Consuming double the daily guidelines in a session.

That would be 6 units (about 2/3 of a bottle of wine) for women, or 8 units (about 4 pints) for men.

So Guys, officially if you have ever had 4 pints over the course of one evening, or drunk the equivalent of a whole bottle of wine in a sitting that would make you a binge drinker by that definition. Ladies – ever had 2/3 of a bottle of wine with a meal out? You too then, binge drinker. So that would be mostly all of us, at one time, or another, then…

Doctors may well see detrimental results of drinking. These are self selected especially for them, along with the questionably ‘disabled’ and those who are apparently suffering from ‘stress’ and need to retire early on medical grounds. Even the genuinely disabled and stressed are obliged to jump through the pathetic hoop to some extent.

This is not representative of the population as a whole, anecdotal evidence suggests many people actively avoid the Dr if at all possible. Face it you need to have plenty of spare time between 9 and 5, weekdays only, to even get to see a Dr these days.

When a significant proportion of everyone they meet fall into the pathetic ‘can’t manage their own lives’ camp it is hardly surprising that Drs begin to believe it applies to the whole population, ditto the Social Services - But no excuse for health fascism.

Dave the Chameleon will reject this idea, if he has any shred of self preservation, to avoid further completely unnecessary internal rows. Still the mere fact that this group is promoting Nu-Lab’s technique of using increased taxation to attempt social engineering is a damning indictment on his party.

Why does every politician reflexively reach to increase taxation?
Many of us enjoy a drink and have no problem with alcohol, apart from the fact that it is taxed so very much more heavily in the UK than anywhere else in Europe.

Why should the sensible majority be expected to subsidise the relative few who have no self control, and/or a violent nature and use the fact that they have been drinking alcohol as an excuse?

If someone has a sufficiently bad problem surely they are likely to come to that attention of the police. Given some appearances before the beak for drunk and disorderly, ABH or GBH surely it would be more effective if a court fined them and used that to send them for treatment.

If someone sought some sort of treatment for themselves why not supply an interest free loan and arrange the treatment for them.

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