back to article Health pros: Alcohol is EVIL – raise its price, ban its ads

A broad coalition of UK health organizations has released a report detailing the evils of demon rum (and whisky, vodka, brandy, gin, lager, ale, wine, et al.), and calling for a series of government actions to suppress its use, including sharply increased pricing and a ban on alcohol advertising and sponsorships. "In …

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  1. TheOldBear
    WTF?

    This all sounds quite familiar somehow. Wasn't this sort of thing tried before, and failed dismally?

    1. Captain DaFt
      Pint

      More than once, and it always fails.

      The last was the Indians of the Canadian Northwest, total ban, strict penalties, and what they got was a new brew that was easily homemade, and could be drank "green", since it kept fermenting in the digestive system.

      Seriously, trying to ban something that's easier to make than bread is always going to fail.

      1. darwinev0lved

        slightly harder

        I'd say home brewing was slightly harder than home baking. Or at least it take longer and is more effort.

        But in both cases, oh so very worth it.

        But yes, using all-grain recipes I can brew for anywhere from 50p to £1 / pint depending on the level of extravagence of ingredients (American hops are pricey).

        But on the other hand, if people were brewing their own this might be a better thing to do than drinking cheap larger irrespective of alcohol content.

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Yeah but repealing this kind of B.S. is the one thing which made Roosevelt popular.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Say WHAT, bro?

        The "one thing" that made Roosevelt popular?

        Hmmm ... establishing social programs that provided a safety net to the vast majority of American citizens, providing a system that enabled elder folks to not find their lives twirling down the fiscal toilet, and helping to end the Great Depression?

        Hmmm... Small change there, eh?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Say WHAT, bro?

          Funny, I thought it was his leadership in helping the Allies win WW II that was most responsible for his lasting popularity. If the war hadn't happened, that other stuff wouldn't have him remember any more fondly than Johnson has been for Medicare.

          It's open to debate whether what he did really ended the Great Depression, or if it was the ultra massive stimulus program we know as WW II that finally did so. Oh, and it didn't hurt that by the end of it our industrial base was the only one that hadn't been bombed to rubble! For some of the world the Great Depression lasted a lot longer than it did here.

          1. C 18
            Black Helicopters

            Re: Say WHAT, bro?

            I'm a bit late to the party but that shouldn't go by unaddressed...

            >...helping the Allies win WW II...

            It is a well documented fact, I believe, that the American involvement in WWII was of the approach, 'let them slug it out until we can swoop in and benefit from the aftermath.'

            Which is what happened. America lent a lot of money to Europe in order to rebuild itself after the war. Pretty much pwned Europe, without suffering in any way that compares to the destruction that wrecked through the lands of mainland Europe. And Blighty got a bit of a clobbering too of course, thankfully Dad's Army helped keep the noise down...

        2. Michael Habel Silver badge

          Re: Say WHAT, bro?

          No I think you are confused dear Sir; Those were the bad things he did.

          Weather or not this made him "popular" is another question.

          1. Philip Lewis
            Headmaster

            Re: Say WHAT, bro?

            I doubt the weather has aided the popularity of any sitting politician. It might have aided in the elction of one in Denmark some years ago, where amongst his campaign promises was "tailwinds on bicycle paths" (and yes, he was elected to parliament).

            Whether this is all relevant, depends on whether you wish to know what weather is or whether you don't give a toss.

        3. gc 1

          Re: Say WHAT, bro?

          The social programs even Cordell Hull admitted with dismal failures and Social Security (based on the notion most folks would be busily deceased by 65...not unreasonable in the 1930's) is in its death spiral. Roosevelt didn't so much end the Great Depression as much as Hirohito and WWII - a particularly horrid, if effective, way to end a depression.

          After all, nothing drives full employment like a life or death military struggle that demands 100% utilization of resources to produce war materials that will largely be swiftly destroyed and require replacement.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Say WHAT, bro?

          Be more accurate to say "Instituted policies and regulations that significantly prolonged the depression for Americans". The myths about Roosevelt's "New Deal" are widespread and pernicious.

          1. Richard Wharram
            Mushroom

            Re: Say WHAT, bro?

            Ah, doctors trying to set policy again. Or rather a subset of doctors hailing from the old temperance movements trying to set policy. Maybe they should run for political office instead of being a doctor if that's what they wish to do.

            Failing that they could fuck off.

          2. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: Say WHAT, bro?

            Oh? Equal numbers of people claim the people saying the New Deal hurt America are THEMSELVES telling myths. Historical evidence suggests that the best way to boost economic activity is to encourage the class of society who have no choice but to spend (because they're starving). The general consensus is that while the New Deal didn't get us out of the depression, it did keep us from falling deeper into it. It kept us busy which in turn kept us from turning on ourselves (like you see in Greece right now because few things drive people to turn on their country like a lack of opportunity).

        5. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
          Holmes

          Re: Say WHAT, bro?

          > helping to end the Great Depression

          Been brainwashed by Krugman, buddy? It often helps to believe in the tooth fairy, indeed.

          Seriously, the "Great Depression" was made great BECAUSE of Roosie. Played the Keynesian and Control Economist for about 10 years with no improvement in sight - normal, considering his earlier admiration for the command economy of Mussolini's Italy. Then WWII came and he didn't have to justify himself. For this to happen, he trolled Japanese and Germans relentlessly, hoping for a "first shot", which came to no-one's surprise. Popped his clogs just before his 4th term (fraudulently obtained, as much as the 3rd), after having secured the votes of the Poles, the country of whom he had already secretly sold to Stalin. Buried in a mausoleum prepared a bit earlier at taxpayer's expense.

          A right dirtbag he was.

      2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Happy

        ""Yeah but repealing this kind of B.S. is the one thing which made Roosevelt popular.

        I think his mass employment programmes might have had something to do with it as well.

        BTW the article is not about prohibition.

        RTA

      3. beep54
        Facepalm

        "Yeah but repealing this kind of B.S. is the one thing which made Roosevelt popular." The 'one' thing? Really? There's this little thing called History. Perhaps you should avail yourself. It's in books, you know.

    3. Rocket888
      FAIL

      No it wasn't. There's a world of difference between prohibition and minimum pricing/advertisement restrictions.

      50p a unit is hardly going to lead to an epidemic of stills being set up. All it'll do is reduce the amount of overly cheap booze - £1 a pint, £5 a bottle of wine, £15 a bottle of vodka, 0.75p a bottle of alcopops.

      It is a bit of an over-reaction to compare that to prohibition!

      1. Timmay
        Pint

        @Rocket888

        Exactly, at first I thought what a terrible idea, and this is going to punish everyone who can control themselves/drink modestly. But 50p per unit is going to do nothing to the majority of the country who enjoy a 2/3 unit pint which already costs at least £3.50+

        1. DavCrav Silver badge

          Re: @Rocket888

          "Exactly, at first I thought what a terrible idea, and this is going to punish everyone who can control themselves/drink modestly. But 50p per unit is going to do nothing to the majority of the country who enjoy a 2/3 unit pint which already costs at least £3.50+"

          That's because you haven't thought it through. Let's take wine as an example. Currently there are, broadly speaking, three types of wine in supermarkets: cheap crap; OK stuff; expensive stuff. The price of the cheap crap is currently about £3.50/bottle. OK stuff is a few pounds more, expensive stuff is a few pounds more than that. This price differential will still exist even if the bottom stuff is £4.50, so everyone pays £1/bottle more.

          The exact same thing will happen to all other forms of alcohol. It's clear.

          1. JimC

            Re: @Rocket888

            Why will the differential be maintained? Isn't it much more likely that the cheap crap will just be sold to other markets? Otherwise sales of all grades will reduce.

            1. beep54
              FAIL

              Re: @Rocket888

              "Why will the differential be maintained? Isn't it much more likely that the cheap crap will just be sold to other markets? Otherwise sales of all grades will reduce."

              I gather basic economics is just not your strong suit, is it?

          2. Vic

            Re: @Rocket888

            > This price differential will still exist even if the bottom stuff is £4.50,

            Why?

            If a bottle of wine currently costs, say £7, why would a supermarket put up that price just because the crap stuff is coming up to meet it? Wine is a very competitive market.

            What will more likely happen is that the cheap crap will just disappear. So the pricing increase will only affect those people who buy the really cheap stuff - and IME those are not the problem drinkers anyway, since they tend to be quite hard-up most of the time.

            > The exact same thing will happen to all other forms of alcohol. It's clear.

            Only very briefly, if at all.

            Just the other week, we had some numbers come out that show that people are massively under-reporting their drinking - everyone is claiming to drink 3/4 of the maximum recommended amount, but that only accounts for half the actual sales. So if all alcohol is hit with price increases, a lot of people will be worse off financially. Once people realise that *they* are the targets of such legislation, rather than those evil "binge drinkers" they keep hearing about, there will be a political backlash against whichever government introduced the legislation.

            Vic.

        2. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: @Rocket888

          Thing is, if you start raising the price of the cheap stuff too high, you might as well be prohibiting it because you're pricing it out of range of low-income blue-collar workers: historically known for drinking. The same thing happens when you try to alter behaviour with punitive excise taxes. You just encourage underground brewing and so on. Alcohol is legal in the US but regulated, so there is still a market for the infamous moonshine.

          1. Michael Habel Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: @Rocket888

            Plus the fact that Anheuser Busch makes of that oh so fine a Brew (ALL WHO THE HELL AM I KIDDING?!), Budweiser (Not to be confused by the FAR SUPERIOR Czech version!), is the nastiest Beer ever devised by man. The fact that they are also watering down their crap from an already pitifully low 3.2% by vol. Its no wonder the proverbial is currently hitting their Fan,

            All proper Beer should have at lest 5% by vol. preferably more like 8-10% by vol...

            Now to kick back this Doppelbock.

            1. Anonymous Bosch

              Re: @Rocket888

              You obviously haven't sampled the likes of Iron City Beer, Lone Star, or Old Milwaukee.

            2. Ken 16 Silver badge
              Pint

              Ho ho ho

              With Samichlaus beer, every day is like Christmas.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Rocket888. Putting up the price of the cheapest bottle of wine by £2 may seem nothing to you or a GP on 100k but to people on low incomes its a massive increase. Politicians, doctors and some commentators here should think of other people not measure everything by their personal circumstances.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @AC

          Oh dear - poor little alcoholic AC can't live without his daily bottle/s of wine... poor diddums.

          Or maybe - realize that if you can't cope without something alcoholic sloshing around in your system you have a problem.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @AC not everyone NEEDS a drink many just ENJOY a drink...

            You have no idea AC, it is not the person who needs a bottle a day... its the pensioner who has very little disposable income, and maybe enjoys a bottle of wine with dinner on a sunday as a treat that will be punished!

            Personally I never buy anything that is as cheap as 50p a unit, i spend £6-£10 an average bottle of wine for dinner, i spend £1.50/bottle on the beer I buy.. .the only time I bother with cheap deals is when I am having a party and must get some lager in for the average guest who prefers that kind of thing

          2. Androgynous Cowherd
            Pint

            Re: @AC

            Interesting you had so many down votes. I drink in moderation (enjoy it most of the time) but other than that I find it very problematic for humanity which needs arresting / addressing - quickly.

          3. Passing Through

            Re: @AC

            Get lost

        2. Rocket888

          I can see your point if you see drinking as a human right and not a luxury like other hobbies.

          Beer drinkers are unaffected (apart from Special Brew...) and a wine drinker needs to reduce their consumption by 30% to spend the same (£3.50 - £5.50)

          I do feel sorry for the sloe gin makers though.

        3. Naughtyhorse
          Pint

          I think they are thinking about other people.

          I hate to come across as a po-faced misery guts, but it's a bit hard to argue with the points made:

          Millions of fuckwits getting tanked up on cheap booze is a problem in the UK

          (please god dont let me have a heart attack just after chucking out time on a saturday night - i'll never survive a visit to A&E)

          There are enormous costs to our society resulting from widespread abuse of alcohol. It's hard to argue that those costs shouldn't be met by the sales of the stuff in the first place.

          I drive a car, and have to pay taxes to ameliorate the impact of my car on the rest of society.

          I smoke cigarettes and have to pay for the increased use of the health service that that will inevitably entail.

          If our emergency services are at full stretch every Saturday night because so many people are getting wasted and getting themselves into various sorts of trouble, then that needs paying for.

          apart from anything else - I have a good job, and anything that reduces the queues at the bar is a good idea in my book :-D (oops i kinda fucked that up didnt I)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @naughtyhorse

            As far as I can see, the riffraff getting tanked up and out of control on Friday nights aren't doing it on cheap booze,but on whatever is the currently fashionable, over-priced premium branded lager. They are already paying four quid a pint, and the marginal impact on them is limited.

            1. JeeBee

              Re: @naughtyhorse

              They're also doing it at home before going out - so-called "pre-loading". This means they get well tanked up in an unsupervised environment, rather than in public where some of these people would behave in a more moderate manner - especially if publicans and bouncers did their job. As you can see from this - higher prices for alcohol have actually made the problem worse. As a second proof of this, look at Finland's alcohol problems - alcohol is very expensive there.

          2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
            Happy

            @Naughtyhorse

            "apart from anything else - I have a good job, and anything that reduces the queues at the bar is a good idea in my book :-D (oops i kinda fucked that up didnt I)"

            Anyone who thinks this sort of drinking is being done in pubs or bars is sorely mistaken.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Happy

          Yes this could cause the cost of my training and career as an alcoholic to rise....

          Leaving me in drunken debt for ever.

          Noo the 10 - 15% of the population that is "ADDICT", should be given preferential pricing and a license to practice, and buckets of high quality booze, at wholesale prices.

          They also should be given a side show style of bumper car, with a top speed of 5Kmh.....

          That is a good use of the Google car... when your so drunk your in a paralytic stupor... then it toodles along under voice command...

          "Isafukncahn shalooknat fukncahn....." which translates to "Go to the Vinchenzo Vineyards, and when we get there order a box of 1788 Chateau Du Guzzle, which I will drink from the bottle - make haste yonder charriot, I feel the DT's coming on."

          The pharmacutical companies should also be given a hand up here, to get and keep as much of the population legally stoned out of their minds as possible.....

          They are good at that.

      3. Richard Morris
        WTF?

        Why penalise sensible drinkers?

        We don't drink much, and as you say, we usually spend more that 50p a unit anyway. But there is also a certain amount of fun in making drinks like sloe gin, and for that all you really need is a handful of sloes, a bit of sugar and a £10 bottle of gin.

        Why would you want to make it £5 more expensive to make a bottle of sloe gin for Christmas?

      4. rciafardone
        FAIL

        You silly boy...

        Any artificial increase in price will almost automatically generate a black market that will totally blast your perceived benefits. Making it "obscure" by eliminating advertising will make it "cooler" for kids... you know because kids love things that are "banned". Tobacco consumption is going down in the west, not because of banning, but for the actual education of general population about the damage that it causes.

        Education is the answer, not laws.

    4. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Go

      "Wasn't this sort of thing tried before, and failed dismally?"

      No.

      What you think the article is describing is called prohibition.

      What it's actually saying is ban the advertising

      1. The Axe
        Mushroom

        @JohnSmith19

        "What it's actually saying is ban the advertising"

        That's only the start. You cannot stop bansturbators by saying "it's only a ban on advertising". Once they've got that they will progress on to the next step. They never stop until they have the cold hard facts that their actions are actually leading to more deaths (the US poisoned neat alcohol so that it couldn't be used to make drinking alcohol - leading to a number of deaths) and that the vast majority of the population don't agree with their minority views that are very extreme to the point of fascism.

        You have to stop such nannying fussbuckets at their first attempt. Otherwise welcome to a world where someone else decides what is good for you and you can not make any decisions about your own life.

        Already some are wanting to stop giving health care to the obese or smokers because that is what led to their health problems. Whats to say that such people will not decide that extreme sports fanatics should not be given any medical help if they have an accident.

        1. Naughtyhorse

          Re: @JohnSmith19

          "the US poisoned neat alcohol so that it couldn't be used to make drinking alcohol - leading to a number of deaths"

          but lets be fair, i dont think we lost a cure for cancer, or any significant insight into the higgs in that lot :-)

        2. Michael Habel Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: @JohnSmith19

          But, (no) thanks to Osamba-care, and Mayor Blomberg of New York, you can no longer purchase a flippen Big gulp any more 'cause those sugar laden Soft-drinks will give ya Diabetes and possibly the AIDS (!!/jk on the latter!!

          So who says we DON'T already live in their Nany-state, where *they* know whats best for you!

          Joke alert 'cause AIDS...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @JohnSmith19

            Yeah, but also we have companies pushing those things, that they know very well are the main cause of Type II adult-onset diabetes ... you could regard this as an anti-nanny that is qute prepared to knowingly kill you, (using clever advertising and so on) as long as you can pay them and give them nice juicy profits.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @JohnSmith19

          For reasons I do not know, I am on the list of people that certain famous pollsters call. I am also a person randomly chosen to participate in a multi-year study of population attitudes and opinions on various matters (which judging by the questions seems to be funded by the government!).

          The point. I live in a country with universal health care coverage.

          There is a question in the survey that asks, "Do you agree that health coverage for should be denied for smokers?" (I can't remember the precise words, but this was the question - I made them repeat it so I was sure I understood.

          1: The "first attempt" passed when we allowed government funded universal health care. Governments now have a reason and the power to restrict any behaviour they may deem "unhealthy", which, for the uninformed is also known as "living".

          2: Governments which provide universal health care are already testing the waters as to how soon they can start restricting what we can and cannot do.

          3: Two units of alcohol a day has more positive health effects than negative

          It's only going to get worse. The "bansturbators" (I do hope that word makes it to the OED, it's brilliant), are in charge already and everything will eventually be banned. At which time democracy and freedom will be but boot notes in the history of failed humanity.

          AC, sorry.

          1. Ian Yates
            Stop

            Re: @JohnSmith19

            Sorry, but I call bullsh*t. The errosion of liberties is a gradual thing because it is not a concerted effort to hoodwink a whole population. The fact that we actual have more personal liberty than 100 years ago always seems to be forgotten (not that I would ever defend any attempt to attack the liberties we have).

            No one becomes a politician to further some grand conspiracy; be that the death of democracy you speak of, or the immigration and social cleansing the older generation warn me about.

            Governments are inept and pass laws almost by random; legislation is almost always a reaction to some current situation or change in public opinion. They are pandering to what they believe the masses want, in order to secure their next vote. Occassionally they'll create a short political play in which they propose something horrible in order to pass something less horrible, but if their schemes are planned more than six months in advance, I would be utterly shocked.

            In this particular case, a bunch of doctors/physicians are lobbying to reduce public health problems from alcohol. Even if they have a hidden agenda, historically it has always been shown that reducing the public's alcohol intake produces a less docile populace, so what could they hope to gain from it?

            Personally, I can't see any reason to be upset by the advertising ban. Some of the adverts are amusing, most are boring, and people drink what they want to drink anyway. I've never heard anyone order a "SoCo", no matter how (cringingly) hard Southern Comfort tried to push that phrase.

            But if they touch my ale, they'll be hell to pay.

      2. PhilBuk
        Thumb Down

        @John Smith 19

        Yeah - just like smoking. First a few restrictions then a concerted social engineering effort to make social drinking unacceptable, then have the BBC news publishing anti-drinking stories or theories involving drink consumption in accidents, etc., etc. When drinking is finally banned or severly restricted, start work on the obese and then on fishing and anything else that distracts from the gloom of this miserable country. Some people just like inflicting misery on others. Now the church isn't so effective, they use the health service.

        Sip, sip - ahh - that's better.

        Phil.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @John Smith 19

        What the article is *actually* saying is that these "health" wowsers and killjoys want to BOTH "ban the advertising" AND "put the minimum price up to 50p a unit".

        Now a typical bottle of decent wine is about 11 units. Do the math... this would mean NO wine can be sold under £5.50 a bottle. That's substantially more than the cheapest wine you can get in a supermarket now.

        So the cheapest wines will go up to at least £5.50 a bottle, and all the others in proportion. Do you really think merchants will pass on an opportunity to increase all their prices by 25% or so, and if anyone complains say "The government made us do it"?

        If so, I have a bridge to sell you.

        1. Muscleguy Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: @John Smith 19

          What your analysis does not include is the fact that the alcoholic strength of both beer and wine have increased in the last couple of decades. I remember when wine was 10-11% ABV (most are now 12-13%) and when Old Speckled Hen (5% ABV) really was a strong ale. What a minimum price per unit will do is reduce the strength of wine and beer in order to keep the price reasonable.

          People do not generally drink according to strength they drink according to volume. Which is why the increases in strength are a problem. If you have not changed the amount you drink your consumption of alcohol will still have increased.

          1. unhandled_exception

            Absolutely

            There is no reason why a good wine should ever be more than 12%

            1. beep54
              Meh

              Re: Absolutely

              "There is no reason why a good wine should ever be more than 12%"

              I take it that you are just not really all that familiar with 'good' wine.

              1. Ken 16 Silver badge

                Re: Absolutely

                It is harder to get flavour at lower alcohol levels, which is why a lot of wines have been creeping up in strength but a nice red should be able to cope at 12% and a nice white at 10%, otherwise you may as well sling oak chips in the barrel and top it up to 15% to impress the critics whose tongues have been pickled.

            2. This post has been deleted by its author

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Absolutely

                Can't tell the difference between wine and fortified wine? Anyway, there is a reason why alcohol abuse is widespread in the UK, and that is that the country is sinking so fast that it's not even funny. So people turn to drinking.

                And there is nothing that can be done. The upper classes are simply not qualified to lead: too many generations of privilege and in-breeding.

        2. veti Silver badge
          Headmaster

          Re: @John Smith 19

          @Tom Welsh: I love it when people say "do the maths..."

          A bottle of wine contains 750 ml of liquid. A unit of alcohol is defined as 10 ml of alcohol. So to get 11 units in a bottle, you're talking about wine that's 14.5% ABV. I submit that if you're drinking "the cheapest wine you can get in a supermarket" and it's 14.5% ABV, your liver and stomach are in a world of trouble.

          A more typical strength, particularly for cheap plonk, would be 11%, making for 8 units per bottle. Some wines are significantly lower (and none the worse for that - part of our current problem is that there's a tendency towards making beer and wine stronger - but that's basically for fashion's sake, there's no taste-based reason for it).

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @John Smith 19

            Actually, I said "Do the math" because it's an American expression. "Do the maths" just sounds silly.

            As for the percentages, it's a fair cop. I exaggerated the strength of typical wines, not because I wanted to distort the facts, but because I usually assume a bottle of wine is 10-11 units when calculating how much I and others can safely drink per week. I suppose I have built in a small safety factor.

            In fact, most of the wine we drink is 11-12.5% alcohol by volume. 11% would give each bottle 8.25 units (not 8 as you said - see how slippery a slope this is?) while 12.5% is equivalent to 9.375 units per bottle. So £4.15 and and £4.69 respectively, rather than the £5.50 I stated.

            However, this downward revision of the minimum prices makes virtually no difference at all to the strength of my argument, as you can buy perfectly drinkable wine for £4.50 a bottle today.

            And, of course, my liver and stomach are a matter for me (and possibly my doctor). You don't need to worry about them, although of course I appreciate your solicitous concern.

          2. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: @John Smith 19

            "A bottle of wine contains 750 ml of liquid. A unit of alcohol is defined as 10 ml of alcohol. So to get 11 units in a bottle, you're talking about wine that's 14.5% ABV. I submit that if you're drinking "the cheapest wine you can get in a supermarket" and it's 14.5% ABV, your liver and stomach are in a world of trouble.

            A more typical strength, particularly for cheap plonk, would be 11%, making for 8 units per bottle. Some wines are significantly lower (and none the worse for that - part of our current problem is that there's a tendency towards making beer and wine stronger - but that's basically for fashion's sake, there's no taste-based reason for it)."

            Based on my experiences, I don't think most winos go for honest wine. They go for what might best be called "bum wine," which is in fact cheap fortified wine. They pack a stronger buzz than honest wines (since they climb up into the 18-20% ABV range) and usually cost less. The winos don't care much for the taste; they just want to get drunk as often as possible. As for their livers and stomachs, they're usually beyond caring at this point and are just picking their poison.

        3. Tom 38 Silver badge

          Re: @John Smith 19

          The problem is that this doesn't happen. If you increase the cost of alcohol so that certain sections of society do not spend 50% of their income on booze, then they will either buy illegal or bootleg alcohol (which already happens), or they will forego other things, like food, clothes for their kids, and so on. They don't start drinking less.

          @Tom Welsh:

          The additional duty should be applied at point of manufacture or import. This simply makes it more expensive for merchants to sell, the only people seeing anything from an increase should be the government. If anything, merchants would actually be taking smaller margins on alcohol.

      4. Michael Habel Silver badge
        Big Brother

        First they came for the Pricing 'cause it was soo affordable to drink. I didn't speak out.

        Then they came after the Adds 'Cause joe Camel makes Children want to Smoke Cigarettes, and again I said nothing.

        Then they decided on some sunny Day that they should go after the Alcohol 'cause its SOOO EVIL!!! But, by then it was already too late...

  2. Charles Manning

    Nanny can't fix it

    It is the way of the nanny state to try to legislate against stupidity. Regardless of the outcome, it feels good to do something... anything... even if it has no effect.

    I guess it is only natural: parliamentarians play with law making and so see that to be the solution to all societies ills. IT geeks think handing out computers (OLPC etc) will fix the world. It is just the old saying that a man with a hammer thinks everything looks like a nail.

    It is the unfortunate reality that these programs seldom have any useful outcome amongst the people they are targeted to help. Instead they just impinge on the freedoms of responsible users.

    1. Ole Juul

      Re: Nanny can't fix it

      Instead they just impinge on the freedoms of responsible users.

      And non-users as well. Here in Canada we have draconian alcohol laws and you can't easily buy clean ethyl alcohol for other purposes since it is assumed that you will drink it all on the way home. In any case, these kinds of laws always infringe on freedoms in general. They do, however, make an excellent excuse for collecting more taxes to fund programs such as this which will create a lot of jobs which otherwise wouldn't have a reason to exist.

      1. Elmer Phud
        Pint

        Re: Nanny can't fix it

        No cigar -- since when did governments use named taxes to directly fund anything.

        Even the darling of the right - Winston Churchill - stopped Road Tax being spent on roads

        Governments know that those who term themselves as 'moderate drinkers' are likely to be at least psychologically addicted to the stuff as a societal prop-- it's just a guaranteed income from junkies.

        ( not a troll -- boozers only have 'habits' )

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Nanny can't fix it

          Indeed and you would not believe the scope of the blatant pushing of alcohol by the big brewing companies at UK Universities. Trying VERY hard to turn the next generation of Pols and everyone else into addicts.

      2. Cipher
        Alert

        Re: Nanny can't fix it

        Ole Juul:

        And raise money, at least that what they hope it will do. Nanny State Elitists never run out of ideas to raise more cash to fund the projects to help the Great Unwashed...

    2. Eddy Ito

      "...even if it has no effect."

      The problem is that it's never been seen to have no effect. It has always has, in the past, had a hugely detrimental effect on the intended targets and innocent bystanders. Unfortunately far too many people are so myopic that they can't see past the mostly harmless scourge they seek to rout.

    3. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      DING DING DING!

      You used the expression "nanny state"

      The new Godwin's Law.

      1. Eddy Ito

        Re: DING DING DING!

        I say we make the expression "Godwin's Law" the new Godwin's Law.

    4. Naughtyhorse

      Re: Nanny can't fix it

      except seat belts and drink driving that is.

      1. Eddy Ito

        Re: Nanny can't fix it

        "except seat belts and drink driving that is."

        I didn't know that seat belts and drink driving were broken. Passing laws by itself does nothing. Education does far more and I would wager that the PSAs put on TV and the improved communication in schools has done far more to combat drink driving that simply passing a bunch of laws and putting up excuses to search your car for contraband on the roadway.

        As for seat belts, there isn't much proof that laws actually do anything either other than generate revenue for the state. I know, it's about saving lives not raising money, so let's look at the data, shall we. The NHTSA has seat belt use data (PDF) for the 50 States, Wikipedia and the GHSA have data on seat belt laws and the Census Bureau have the data on traffic accident fatalities and fatalities by state (PDF).

        Now the state with the lowest seat belt use, New Hampshire 68.9% in 2009 and 72.2% in 2010, also has neither a primary1 nor secondary seat belt law for adults and the state with the highest use, Hawaii 97.9 - 2009 and 97.6 - 2010, has a primary seat belt law. Naturally if this was about saving lives it should follow that NH with its low use rate would have a higher fatality rate than HI, except it doesn't. In fact for the last year shown on the Census data 2009, the fatality rate per 100 million road miles traveled is 22% higher in HI than NH.

        Ok, the two states are a world away so let's look somewhere closer to the "worst" seat belt use like New York which also has a primary seat belt law. We find that the use rate was 88% in '09 and 89.8% in '10 so it is still considerably higher than NH. Oddly the traffic fatality rate for those two states is the same. How can that be? The climates and driving conditions are going to be very similar given the proximity so how can the seat belt use and laws be so different with the same result?

        1. A primary seat belt law means that a driver can be stopped and ticketed only for non-use of a seat belt. A secondary seat belt law does not allow for stopping a driver solely for non-use of a seat belt but if stopped for another reason it becomes a second offense.

        1. Naughtyhorse

          Re: Nanny can't fix it

          The article is about the uk. (the US people have so many, frankly bonkers ideas about what freedom is, their views can't really contribute much to this debate) - although it strikes me that maybe the population density of NH being around 1/3 of new york might have some influence on traffic levels & conditions :-)

          The primary legislation relating to the compulsory use of seatbelts was passed in the uk, after many attempts in 1983.

          It is currently estimated that in the uk, over the last 25 years 60,000 lives have been saved by the use of seatbelts.

          now i'm sure we could argue the numbers on that, until even the gun lobby gives up and opens it's mind to reason (did you see what i did there!)

          2400 lives a year is currently 125% of UK road deaths, even if the figure is mostly bollocks, whatever the actual figure is, sounds like there would be a significant jump in the figures if the law was repealed, and people stopped wearing them.

          I was a teenager at the time the legislation was going through and i remember the stiff opposition to it by pretty much everyone, and while jimmy saville's (where have i heard that name recently?) 'clunk-click' campaign in the late 70's had some traction, not a lot changed till there was a fine attached to their non use.

          Nowadays it's unthinkable not to wear them (irritating 'bongs' from the dashboard notwithstanding) it feels wrong not to be strapped in. It was a the action of the 'nanny state' that introduced the law, but in retrospect it was a pretty good idea.

          Sometimes we need to be protected from our own stupidity (oh no! we are back on guns!)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Nanny can't fix it

            Secondary safety (things that count when you crash) items like seat belts, air bags, crash intrusion protection, crumple zones, deforming steering columns and a gazillion other items introduce over the past 25 years screw up the comparability of numbers.

            Primary safety (things that help you avoid a crash) items like better braking, better handling, ABS, electronic handling software etc. have also had a massive effect.

            Car safety has never been higher in the developed world (I suggest a trip to India sometime and a road trip. If you survive to tell the tale, let me know), and that is an admirable thing. However, there becomes a point beyond which it becomes pointless or economically non-viable to push the number further down.

            Setting the speed limit to zero would eliminate 100% of road fatalities.

            I am not sure why we are talking about seat belts. O right, the nanny state.

            Question: Do I have the right to decide my own fate?

            Answer: in a "nanny state" the answer is a definitive no.

            Compulsory seat belt laws, compulsory helmet laws, anti-drinking and anti-evereything-pretty-much-that-is-fun legislation are the characteristics of a nanny state protecting the 2% of the populace who need protecting at the expense of everyone else's freedom.

          2. Super Fast Jellyfish

            Re: Nanny can't fix it

            Yes but strangely the author of the article is based in San Francisco - I only realised when I noticed the US spelling being used.

          3. Eddy Ito

            Re: Nanny can't fix it

            "although it strikes me that maybe the population density of NH being around 1/3 of new york might have some influence on traffic levels & conditions :-)"

            You could always make the comparison to Vermont (85.3% belt usage, secondary law) with slightly less than half the NH population density or Maine (82.6% belt usage, primary law) at about 1/3 that of NH and you would also find that their fatality rate is higher even though the seat belt usage is greater but I'm sure you're not interested in actual data.

            You seem to think that current usage and safety has to do with laws and fines but, in a similar vein, I know lots of younger people who would never consider riding a motor bike without a helmet regardless of whether a law exists or not and I also know lots of older riders who hate wearing one and won't ride to states where they have to put a lid on. Certainly it must be because of the laws, it isn't about educating people to the benefits of wearing helmets or seat belts and people independently choosing to do so because it is just the smart thing to do.

            In the long run education will win every time in spite of the fact the "nanny state's" insistence on penalizing people to conform. Reminds me quite a lot of the nuns back in school who couldn't answer the questions but insisted that you have faith because they're always right. Oh, of course I saw what you did there and the nuns would be proud of you for having such an open mind enlightened point of view.

          4. Dan Paul
            Devil

            Re: Nanny can't fix it ( Neither can you!)

            Please stop trying to juxtapose seatbelts against drinking. I can provide plenty of statistics saying the same thing about guns and come to the conclusion that we should ban automobiles or use medical negligence claims and say we should ban hospitals.

            What this is about, now and forever is about personal responsibility and personal freedom.

            TAKE Personal Responsibility for your own actions Government should take responsibility for theirs and just leave us all the fuck alone.

  3. Tom Maddox Silver badge
    Mushroom

    ODFO

    That's it, really.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: ODFO

      Or FOAD.

      50p a unit minimum price does nothing to a pint of beer around here and not much for anything else bought in a pub. It hits wine and whisky drinkers at home though. So yobs can keep chugging in public but more refined drinkers get stung. Or maybe that's the plan - drive us out onto the streets to drink.

  4. John Savard Silver badge

    New Health Problem

    Raising alcohol taxes will just lead to more poor people being poisoned by drinking denatured alcohol products, and to other poor people being drawn into deeper poverty. Some lives are more valuable than others to those who blithely speak of using money, which some people have more of than other people, as the means to limit access to things like alcohol and tobacco.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lee Macks take on binge drinking: :)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KroDpCBcxU

    1. Shades

      Genius! I do love a bit of Lee.

  6. Denarius Silver badge
    Trollface

    booze is good for the elderly

    or so displayed ElReg articles not so long ago. One just has to make it past 35 to enjoy and benefit. Pity so much booze is dreadful acidic steel cleaning liquid, promoted by twats that think cheap frog derived gunks are quality.

  7. Rol Silver badge

    It's enough to drive you drink

    Make all alcohol sales via debit/credit card and flag the cards of those who have been proven to have no will power on enough occasions to suggest they need nannying.

    It's got it's faults, but far better than the punitive method being discussed, that will only serve to make everyone’s life a little less worth living and still not address the "at any price" lunatics that will carry on regardless.

    1. Velv Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: It's enough to drive you drink

      So I get flagged as an alchie because I buy my 85 yr old aunts shopping every week which includes a couple of bottles of gin?

      And who's going to collate the card data? You really want the government, or worse, a QUANGO to be storing your personal spending habits?

      Why not just introduce a National Identity card and flag all alcohol sales via that?

      FAIL!

    2. PhilBuk
      Thumb Down

      Re: It's enough to drive you drink

      Please, stay away from society and don't get a job which involves other people relying on your good judgement.

      Phil.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's enough to drive you drink

      But what of the (now sadly deceased) Queen Mum?

      How would she have fared in such a system. Let me see, 1 bottle of gin a day for, let's be a bit compassionate and say what, 80 years?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Alcohol doesn't kill people

    People does!

    1. MrT

      Soylent Green...

      ...but fermented.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Soylent Green...

        SOYa / LENTils, yeah? The original book "Make Room, Make Room!" by Harry Harrison apparently didn't have any "human products", that was just added as schlock to spice up the film without his say-so.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Pint

    How much...

    How much (taxpayers) money did those "health guru's" manage to gross in for their wisdom ?

    I just had a few myself and honestly; this is uberly stupid. Sure; there are plenty of people who can't handle alcohol; but I'm pretty sure there are a lot more who can. Don't take the cheap way out of this; if people misbehave then hold them responsible instead of trying to take it out on the whole population who likes to drink alcohol every now and then.

    And if we're talking about health problems here (I hjave to admit; read briefly; I refreshed El Reg before bedtime, guess that makes me an El Reg junkie ;-)).. What ever happened to people's own responsibility ?

    Hold people accountable for that they did, not for what they might going to do.

    And yeah; I had a few beers myself. Amazing; even managing to wrie up an comment; guess the alcohol isn't that bad at all :-)

    1. Magani
      FAIL

      Re: How much...

      "Hold people accountable for that they did, not for what they might going to do."

      That makes far too much sense. It refers to personal responsibility and in today's nanny state this just will not get a look in. AFAICT, alchoholism is a disease and those with this disease should be treated for it. Painting all of society as alcoholics isn't a solution.

      SWMBO and I enjoy a (small) tipple before dinner, and a glass of grape-related liquid with dinner. I'd say that on average, we get through a bottle of spirits a month, and maybe a couple of bottles of red or white a week. There's no way the local bottle shop/off-licence is going to get rich with our drinking habits, yet this bunch of do-gooders seem hell bent on proving that I'm going to hell in a handcart because of my lascivious ways. What's stage 2? Plain bottles behind blank panels at the pub?

      Yes there are people in the community that need help, but the proposed solution in the article doesn't seem to answer their problems. Yet another 'one-size-fits-all' solution that fails to find its target.

      1. NomNomNom

        Re: How much...

        Let's have recreational drugs legalized. End the failing drugs prohibition.

        1. Domino
          FAIL

          Re: How much...

          There seems to be a move the other direction. They are probably tired of hearing how cannabis is less dangerous than alcohol and tabacco and how unjust it is that it's treated differently. So ban tabacco smoking indoors & alcohol drinking outdoors in public (divide and conquer), ban advertising, make it expensive to reduce number of users, brand users as social outcasts.. Early steps towards making them illegal just like cannabis so no one can complain. That'll work right?

    2. Philip Lewis
      Pint

      Re: How much...

      This is riveting stuff.

      Half way through the comments and half a pint down. I need to lift my game!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Advertising

    Banning advertising could be a good idea. Not because it'll reduce consumption, just because people might choose drinks for flavor instead of drinking the piss with the best adverts.

    1. Stacy
      Facepalm

      Re: Advertising

      Hear, hear!

      Living in Holland it's easy to get hold of really nice Trappist or micro brewery beers that are sold on word of mouth not advertising. I offered to bring some back to the UK for a relative and was told, "Don't bother, the in drink here is Bud at the moment, so I wouldn't drink anything other than that. I know it's crap - but it's trendy, ain't it!"

      Unreal to choose that over something that tastes wonderful!

    2. pixl97

      Re: Advertising - Internet age

      How are they going to 'ban' internet advertizing? None on sites with a .co.uk? What counts as an ad? My blog where I talk about the newest swill released on the market? If they can't stop the ads or 'false' ads on the internet expect the billion dollar ad industry to go on the internet in one way or the other.

      1. Philip Lewis
        Big Brother

        Re: Advertising - Internet age

        Let the "Ministry of Truth" be the final arbiter

  11. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge
    FAIL

    The 1920's called

    They want their temperance movements back.

    The trouble with all this nanny state stuff is: The people who are easily dissuaded from abusing alcohol (or whatever) by high prices, taxes and regulation aren't the ones who suffer the worst consequences. The people who are really hooked will ruin their lives regardless of the costs.

    1. MrT

      Time to head off to the Speakeasy...

      The only fun one was in Bugsy Malone. A different kind of messy though.

    2. Lars Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: The 1920's called

      Yes, I sometimes wonder if anybody is honestly interested in figuring out the reality. There is a limit to how much alcohol a person can consume per day (speaking of those who have no other goals). Why do we assume his and his family's life is better if he destroys his economy too. Why not rather a happy drinker, alcoholic, than a suicidal person well knowing (I have never met anyone who is unaware) that he is ruining everything around him much due to destroying him self economically. There is something in this lack of logic which reminds me of the RIAA where you are accused of downloading 1000Gb of music per day but nobody asks the question if it is possible to listen to that amount of music per day.

      Quit frankly I do not think making drinking more expensive is any solution to anything.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "easily dissuaded" vs "really hooked"

      But the people for whom this might make a difference aren't in either camp - they're in the middle, on the borderline between cutting back and ending up hooked. Will this price change maybe get them to cut back at least a little, and so be less likely to end up ruined? Whether you agree or not, setting up two opposing straw men isn't likely to result in a useful conclusion.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "easily dissuaded" vs "really hooked"

        "Will this price change maybe get them to cut back at least a little, and so be less likely to end up ruined?

        You don't know any alcoholics, do you!?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: You don't know any alcoholics, do you!?

          I believe the poster you replied to was not talking about alcoholics, but people on the borderline, who might (or might not) be swayed by price.

  12. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    I prefer collateral damage tax to Nanny state tax

    I am quite happy for people to poison themselves with alcohol. It would be nice if alcohol taxes paid for the collateral damage. Policy based evidence makes it hard to work out if that is happening. There are cost/benefit figures for alcohol all over the internet that support wildly different figures.

    Total NHS costs: £128Billion (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Health_Service#Funding)

    It is not clear if that figure includes payments by insurance companies for road traffic accidents - some of which are alcohol related. Take your own guess at how increases in premium caused by alcohol related traffic accidents is split between drinkers, drivers and drunk drivers.

    Alcohol taxes £10billion: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/statistics/receipts/receipts-stats.pdf

    Now try to subtract the cost of collecting that tax, and find out if "customs duties" includes taxes on imported alcohol. Popular figures without citation on the internet are £15billion revenue and 2.5billion collection costs.

    An early death from alcohol reduces the return on investment for state funded education, but also reduces NHS costs for care of the elderly. Different ways to account for that sort of thing can match the evidence to the desired policy. At some point, increasing the tax rate does not increase the tax revenue. Perhaps a few people will cut alcohol consumption. Some will cut costs elsewhere and the rest will brew their own. Distillation requires a license, but is not technically difficult - I remember doing it in school (1ml/year was legal for educational purposes).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I prefer collateral damage tax to Nanny state tax

      For my part, I don't mind (in principle) a little bit of tax if it reduces the collateral damage. Even if that's damage to other people who I never knew and never will know. Especially if that's damage to people dependent on those poisoning themselves.

      That said, there is a debate to be had as to whether the proposed tax will work or not.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I prefer collateral damage tax to Nanny state tax

      "I am quite happy for people to poison themselves with alcohol. It would be nice if alcohol taxes paid for the collateral damage".

      That's like saying all drivers should be taxed to pay for the harm caused by the occasional deranged speed merchant who crashes his car and kills other people. The point is that many people enjoy a reasonable amount of alcohol, taken in a civilised way, and most likely come to no harm at all from it. Why should they all be penalised because the government has proved itself incapable of dealing with a small number of problem drinkers?

      To use another motoring analogy, it reminds me of all the roads that have been cluttered up with sleeping policeman that damage everyone's cars. The only people who ignore them are the company car and van drivers who don't give a monkey's how much damage is caused - many of whom are the speeding drivers who caused the original problem. The right way to handle the matter is to post a copper with a speed gun and simply charge everyone who speeds. But that's too much trouble, and doesn't involve large sums of taxpayers' money going to contractors who may not be entirely unknown to certain councillors.

      1. Naughtyhorse

        Re: I prefer collateral damage tax to Nanny state tax

        "That's like saying all drivers should be taxed to pay for the harm caused by the occasional deranged speed merchant who crashes his car and kills other people"

        you mean exactly as they do at the moment, that's what actuarial tables are for.

        a young lad with a scooby gets screwed by the insurance, not because _HE_ is going to crash it (although there is a fair chance he will), but because loads of other youngsters in scoobys have already crashed.

        We all pay for other peoples bad driving - all depending on how well the insurance wonks can tease out each groups likelihood of costing the insurance company money (this assumes that you are a perfect driver, as am i of course!)

        which sounds like exactly the argument being put forward - a progressive tax, if you drink sensibly you pay a bit, if you drink like someone is going to take it away - you pay a lot.

        1. Vic

          Re: I prefer collateral damage tax to Nanny state tax

          > if you drink sensibly you pay a bit, if you drink like someone is going to take it away - you pay a lot.

          ...Except that this isn't what's being proposed at all.

          Minimum unit-pricing *only* affects the price of cheap units. I had a bottle of beer last night - it claimed to hold 2.6 units. At 50p per unit, that gives me a minimum price of £1.30 for that bottle. If anyone will sell me such beer for £1.30 a pop, I'll take several dozen.

          I've been known to drink wine from time to time. A 70cl bottle of 14% (chosen to present the worst-case pricing) still has less than 10 units, so that's a minimum of a fiver. This does not increase the cost to me in the slightest.

          There have been times in my life when I have drunk very heavily. As evidenced above, this minimum pricing won't affect that one jot. It just doesn't feature. It's too poorly-targetted. It will only affect those who buy *very* cheap alcohol - and such people are much less likely to be the problem drinkers.

          > a progressive tax

          If this were a progressive tax, I might support it. But it isn't - it's about as regressive as you can get.

          Vic.

  13. DF118

    I'm all for it

    As long as it's part of an overall rebalancing of drugs policy and not just Yet Another bunch of fuckwits who believe that we can legislate for common sense.

    Oh, it isn't and they do? Well in that case I'm against it.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. The Axe
        Mushroom

        Re: I'm all for it

        Living is not good for you. You always die. Loads of evidence to prove that too.

        No matter what people do, someone will find an excuse to prove that it's detrimental to my life. Well, guess what! I want to live my life and enjoy it. If that means I do things that shorten it, so be it. Better that than live a life imposed on my by those who think they know best which will leave me bored out of my brain and more likely to cause harm to others around me from the psychological damage of not enjoying myself. I'd rather die young and happy than old with dementia in a nursing home having to have all my bodily functions handled by a care worker on minimum wage.

        1. albaleo

          Re: I'm all for it

          "I'd rather die young and happy than old with dementia "

          In the modern state, you will be able to do both.

    2. Naughtyhorse
      Holmes

      Re: I'm all for it

      odd that someone with that nick should be pro recreation drug use :-D

  14. Rampant Spaniel

    Why the hell should I pay more for an occasional bottle of wine or rum (which mostly gets used in baking) or cognac (for soup, honestly) because a bunch of halfwits can't control themselves? How about they deal with the problem of scum who won't behave rather than punishing the rest of us who aren't a problem.

  15. jake Silver badge
    Pint

    Ever notice how entities claiming to put "X"-first are full of shit?

    "Health First" goes on to itemize the harms to which it refers: premature death, cirrhosis of the liver, heart disease, cancer ("of the head, mouth, neck, liver, breast and bowel"), falls, burns, drowning, poor mental health, depression, alcoholism, relationship breakdowns, domestic violence, car wrecks, impoverishment, harm to children, antisocial behavior, crime, disorder, the transformation of cities' downtowns into "no-go areas", costs to public services,"

    Sounds more like fast-so-called-foodism, combined with ignorance. It's rampant, world-wide. And from what I've seen, what with the cuts to education world-wide, it'll continue. Trying to stop people boozing won't work. Teaching them to properly feed themselves just might.

    Beer. Because I make the stuff ... and rarely have more than a pint per day.

  16. Tom 7 Silver badge

    The governement is so desperate for economic growth

    that its clinging onto the idea that speakeasys got the US out of the great depression and wants to try it here.

    Since making drugs illegal the (nontaxable) revenue from that has soared so maybe they're on to something.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      Re: The governement is so desperate for economic growth

      perhaps I've misunderstood, but are you saying the government is getting revenue from illegal drugs?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The governement is so desperate for economic growth

        No, but I'll bent some bent coppers are......

  17. frank ly

    More strange thinking

    "... alcohol advertising should only be permitted in newspapers and other adult press."

    Because children can't buy newspapers and wouldn't read one even if you gave them one. Eh?

    1. Blofeld's Cat Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: More strange thinking

      Very strange. I haven't bought a physical newspaper for years, and already use AdBlock to make the on-line ones readable.

      I suspect that thinking was not involved in this...

      1. Velv Silver badge
        Childcatcher

        Re: More strange thinking

        @BlofeldsCat : You forget that the printed press still has a substantial market in this country. Like you I haven't bought print papers or magazines for years, but I'll bet there's a corner shop near you selling it.

        And the type of people buying print versions of The Sun, etc are more likely to fit into profile of the unhealthy groups.

        Don't remember seeing many alcohol ads in Razzle though, but then maybe times have changed.

  18. Nick Kew

    In the real world ..

    BTDT

    I've lived in Sweden and traveled extensively in Scandinavia. Alcohol prices much higher than the UK, and availability altogether more restricted. And a far worse drink problem than the UK.

    I've also lived in Italy. Some (not all) forms of booze much cheaper than the UK, and few restrictions. Healthy culture of drinking in moderation (with your food), and a really refreshing of any kind of drunken yob culture.

    Hmmm ....

    1. Nick Kew

      Re: In the real world ..

      Bah, typo alert. That last clause should of course read "and a really refreshing *absence* of any kind of drunken yob culture."

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: In the real world ..

        Possibly because the Italians don't have the aggressive post-1990s Anglo culture, including almost exclusively respect-free and hyper-violent and militaristic TV serials and films, without any otherwise obvious artistic merit, and cheap booze and fighting seen as "de rigeur"

        1. Rampant Spaniel

          Re: In the real world ..

          Mostly true re Italy, there is significantly less of a drinking problem because (like France) they do drink from a young age and learn how to do so responsibly in the home. They do however have a bit of an issue with football violence and other forms of more organised violence but I would suggest that this mostly isn't to do with the price of alcohol.

          Increasing the price of alcohol won't have a significant impact on the drinking culture, especially with it being so easy to buy one of those brew sacks you just add water to and leave it a week or two. If you make booze expensive enough to have an impact people will just make their own. It's piss easy to make, I could make a decent wine from 13. Cider is pretty easy to make and you will create a market for moonshine and that will cause problems for the NHS (not to mention the fire brigade!).

          In typical political fashion they are after treating the symptoms and not the disease which is the culture.

    2. Naughtyhorse
      FAIL

      Re: In the real world ..

      Italy...

      berlusconi

      now there's a country that needs to take more water with it!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: In the real world ..

      Denmark calling ...

      Sweden is the bad example of Scandinavia in the "drinking sense". The Swedes have severe limits on consumption possibilities and as a result never learn to drink in moderation, because getting your hands on a bottle of something imposes the cultural imperative that said bottle must be consumed, now! Swedes throw the cork from a whiskey bottle away before the first shot is consumed! Aside from that it is really friggin cold up there monumentally boring, so everyone needs a drink now and again and again and again ...

      Norway is Norway. No one can afford to even eat there and everything is illegal. It is the second most boring place on the planet. Being drunk is one of the rare escapes there is from the drolldom, at any cost.

      Finland is a land of knife wielding vodkaholics. The stereotype is true. Everything costs an arm and a leg and you are in constant danger of being carried of by the mosquitoes. The solution to the mosquito problem, is a high blood alcohol level. It has the passing advantage that you do not notice how friggin cold and miserable the place is.

      Denmark, on the other hand, has quite liberal drinking laws and we learn that alcohol is the root of all evil and therefore we openly hold Inner Mission attitudes, while secretly getting blasted at home. We can do this,because unlike, for example the Calvinist Dutch, who put giant glass windows on their houses facing the street so as to show the world that they are not infringing the morals of society, we Danes have minescule windows so that no one can see us partying down (but we all know we are doing it). Aside from that, despite the fact that it is notionally warmer than Sweden, Norway & Finalnd, it's still friggin' cold here and staying in and getting hammered is a convenient way to pass the time. Oh, and most things are illegal here in the Danish Nanny State, so it is so fucking boring we need a drink every now and then. More now than then.

      So, what did you learn?

      Don't generalize, geddit?

      1. Piro
        Pint

        Re: In the real world ..

        I've been to Denmark many times. I'll probably move there, as my girlfriend is Danish and of course lives and works there.

        I would probably go on a cruise to Germany and buy booze en masse to drink at home if I lived in Denmark (infact, her family does go to Germany now and then to buy a lot of booze, and they live in Thy for god's sake, so that's a hell of a trip).

        Denmark is worse than the UK for nanny state, every time I hear people moaning about something here, I think "well, at least you don't have to sell your kidneys to buy/run a car in the UK".. or something along those lines.

        Oh, you can smoke in small bars, but that's probably just because you can't take everything away that people need to survive, because as you said, everything is expensive as hell, it's cold most of the time, and it's fucking boring.

        Skål!

  19. Chronos Silver badge

    In other news...

    A broad coalition of ordinary people today released a report detailing the evils of unenlightened halfwits in ivory towers releasing reports on things of which they have no personal experience.

    The report details several harmful behavioural traits these reports cause such as anger, tendency to damage inanimate objects and the overpowering urge to strangle the living shit out of yet another do-gooder incapable of minding their own fucking business.

    "MYOFB's" chairperson today said "If we allow these people to continue spouting crap from atop their high horses, time will come when everything down to and including farting in public will attract either heavy taxation or be banned," followed by a loud burst of the trouser trumpet to illustrate his point.

    Non-experts welcomed this report with reactions ranging from "About time, too" to "Fuck off, I'm trying to do my bloody shopping here! Sodding surveys..." As we were running away from that bloke, a small group of people standing in the rain outside the pub also gave their opinion on the dangers of unrestrained do-gooding:

    "We're smokers. There used to be lots of us but the do-gooders told us we were evil and had to stand outside. Just go take a look inside the pub and you'll find there's nobody in there at all now. This is what they want - to ruin everything even remotely joyful."

    1. YouStupidBoy
      Thumb Up

      Re: In other news...

      If I could upvote this more than once, I would. Bravo. The icon is for your comment.

      This whole government reaching into your life and trying to stop what could be termed "unapproved activities" is truly scary and must stop. If you think it can't get worse, just re-read the article, think where we were 25 years ago with government reach and attempting to "modify the behavior of the population" and where we're likely to be in another 25.

      Somewhere the fact that the government, indeed all civil servants are just that - servants. The point of our democratic system was intended to be that they serve the public. Somewhere along the way this got turned around and seems we're now the ones serving them and whatever their latest crusade-de-jour happens to be.

      I realize this is never going to happen but I believe the following:

      1) New laws should be drafted in principle by the people. Basically, someone should collect a percentage of signatures of eligible voters - say 15% within their constituency, and present it to their MP. Unless this happens (and if something is truly in the 'public' interest, then there'll be no problems meeting this requirement). Then, and only then, can the minister bring the proposal up.

      2) If the majority of MP/law-lords (forget the workings of the system, sorry) approve of the measure, a draft bill is published. Each proposed law is considered separately and cannot be merged with, or have extraneous, non-related additions made to it to garner some ministers favor (as happens so damn often in the US) "Oh yes, i'd be happy to pass your bill making it illegal to smoke in your car, especially if my proposed bill to limit the hours of operation of power tools in residential areas could somehow be included"

      3) The draft bill is reviewed by independent lawyers to make sure it contains language that addresses the proposal as submitted in Step1. If the proposed law does not fulfil the requirements of step1, it's sent back until it does.

      4) At the next round of local or general elections, the question is put back to the electorate. When you vote, answering the legislation question(s) are mandatory and there is no indication of which MP or constituency the law was proposed by. The question is posed in the form of "Do you believe the below items should be signed into law" and a yes/no box next to each item, which has been summarized by the lawyers as part of (3) Of those people who vote, 50% plus 1 person need to response "Yes" for the bill to be made law.

      5) Assuming a positive response in (4), the bill is signed into law. If not, the process has to start over.

      There should be a similar method to enable the public to *remove* legislation that is already on the books.

      I don't see a need for expediting this. The police and security services already have (some would say more than) adequate legislation to perform their functions.

      This will insure that only legislation that is truly in the public interest - in the truest sense of the word - will be made into law. Personal responsibility needs to become the norm again rather than the exception. The PC, we-know-better-than-you, can't-ever-offend-anyone, want-to-rule-your life brigade need to be rounded up and taken somewhere far away. May I suggest Antartica.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: In other news...

      ""We're smokers. There used to be lots of us but the do-gooders told us we were evil and had to stand outside. Just go take a look inside the pub and you'll find there's nobody in there at all now. This is what they want - to ruin everything even remotely joyful.""

      I was with you until you wrote this. As a non-smoker, I still think back in horror to the time when I could happily be forced to passively smoke someone else's fumes and cough my guts out at any place and time!

      1. Chronos Silver badge

        Re: In other news...

        AC: I was with you until you wrote this. As a non-smoker, I still think back in horror to the time when I could happily be forced to passively smoke someone else's fumes and cough my guts out at any place and time!

        I was hoping that would provoke that reply. Sorry to have manipulated you but that nicely leads me into another rant.

        There isn't a smoker on the planet who will deny that smoking is harmful. We know it is but once it has hold of you it's very difficult for the head to overrule the body's needs. Until personal vapourisers arrived - e-cigs, if you like. I bought a couple of CE4 eGo kits in January. The second day I just forgot to light up and haven't burnt a strand of tobacco since. This is after trying all the pharmaceuticals and cessation "aids."

        You would almost think, given the data about the place on just how much use these NRT products are, that the entire anti-smoking rhetoric is more to be seen to be doing something than actually doing it. After all, smokers die younger and the only people who pay more tax than smokers are motorists. Less pension, more income. What's not to like?

        Now look what's happening. I agree you shouldn't have to suffer because of my habits. I agree that smokers' sidestream emissions are harmful to others. I'm sure many other smokers do, too.

        What I don't agree with is the removal of choice. It seems Dr. Clive Bates, one of the founders of ASH who were so rabidly anti-smoking that it used to look like a form of zealotry, agrees.

        Please note: I haven't stopped using nicotine. I do not intend to stop using nicotine. These things aren't medicine because medicine cures a disease. I'm not ill. I'm enjoying my nicotine just fine thank you very much.

        1. Piro

          Re: In other news...

          I couldn't really give a shit what people want to do to their own bodies, it's the fact you go home smelling like you stood behind a car all day and you have trouble breathing, through no fault of your own.

          That was just really tedious, to be honest.

        2. Vic

          Re: In other news...

          > Until personal vapourisers arrived - e-cigs, if you like.

          A mate of mine has started using one of those.

          With the savings he's achieved, he's bought himself a fairly tidy Range Rover.

          I expect some government or other to start taxing them heavily in the near future :-(

          Vic.

      2. Philip Lewis
        Meh

        Re: In other news...

        As a non-smoker, I am overjoyed that the smokers have been "removed" to alternate locations, and it has nothing to do with the statistically false idea that "used smoke" will give me cancer*.

        It is the smell of smoke on my clothes and the irritation to my eyes that offends me.

        These days, it is the olfactory offense that the previously masked excessive flatulence evident in the beer drinking public. I am not sure that this is an overall improvement

        * A 7000% increase in risk is still effectively zero when the risk begins with a small enough value.

      3. magrathea
        Facepalm

        Re: In other news...

        "I was with you until you wrote this. As a non-smoker, I still think back in horror to the time when I could happily be forced to passively smoke someone else's fumes"

        The oppressive horror of voluntarily entering a smoky bar ..

    3. Steven Roper
      Thumb Up

      Re: In other news...

      " and the overpowering urge to strangle the living shit out of yet another do-gooder incapable of minding their own fucking business."

      -and-

      "The PC, we-know-better-than-you, can't-ever-offend-anyone, want-to-rule-your life brigade need to be rounded up and taken somewhere far away. May I suggest Antartica."

      You two are unbelievably generous and kind-hearted to these sorts of do-gooder fuckwits. I prefer a much harsher remedy.

      With regard to moralising busybody PC do-gooders, I have a fantasy.

      I like to imagine that there's this international organisation of vigilantes called IDEA (International Do-gooder Extermination Agency), which is made of up ex-SAS, SEALs and other paramilitary-trained problem-removal specialists, spread around the globe. No country is safe from them. Every time one of these fucking moralising busybodies publicly calls for something enjoyable or popular to be banned or restricted, the IDEA team swings into action, hunts down the bastards, and blows their fucking houses up.

      After a few years of this reign of fire, the numbers of busybody do-gooders has been thinned enough that the world gradually becomes a more pleasant place. Things like road rage, shop rage, general public anger and lack of respect for others largely disappear, because a large part of the (but not the only) reason people are so angry all the time is because of the constant erosion of our freedoms by these fuckers. Kill them all off, and everyone else would start to calm down...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: In other news...

        Where do I sign up?

  20. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    In the UK in the 1960s 2/3 of adults smoked. Today it is 1/3. This applies that idea to alcohol.

    For those TL:DR types here's the quick version.

    Ban advertising of alcohol, not alcohol. In the UK you'll still be able to go into any shop or pub that sells alcohol and if over age buy it, just as you can a pack of cigarettes or a bag of tobacco.

    Put a minimum price on a unit of alcohol. In the UK the alcoholics drink of choice is cider, which is taxed at a lower rate than other drinks. High alcohol cider is readily available (c8.5% alcohol). Note that "units" seem to be by volume and type of drink but in reality it's the % of Ethanol that matters.

    In fact if this policy were applied to all drugs, along with making them legal, it would be the start of a revolution in the way the some parts of the Western world relate to recreational drug use.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: In the UK in the 1960s 2/3 of adults smoked. Today it is 1/3. This applies that idea to alcohol.

      Thing is, what if you raise the price so high that you encourage what Americans call "moonshining" instead?

      1. Naughtyhorse

        Re: In the UK in the 1960s 2/3 of adults smoked. Today it is 1/3. This applies that idea to alcohol.

        it's already happening

        we are awash with dodgy vodka

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: In the UK in the 1960s 2/3 of adults smoked. Today it is 1/3. This applies that idea to alcohol.

      Read your British history, and you'll find that the Anglo-Saxons used to drink gallons of beer and mead on a regular basis. Not a lot of advertising back then - and they didn't need advertising to make them drink. They did it because they enjoyed it. Word does get around about things like that, you know.

      Samuel Pepys used to drink a bottle or so of sherry for breakfast before heading off to work in the morning. Doesn't seem to have done him much harm. Churchill poured immense amounts of booze down his throat, and lived to a ripe old age.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: In the UK in the 1960s 2/3 of adults smoked. Today it is 1/3. This applies that idea to alcohol.

        "the Anglo-Saxons used to drink gallons of beer and mead on a regular basis"

        I think that was mainly because drinking ordinary water was often quite risky. The brewing process for what was normally a quite weak beer/ale/mead made it safe(er).

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: In the UK in the 1960s 2/3 of adults smoked. Today it is 1/3. This applies that idea to alcohol.

          What about during the Dark Ages? I heard monks then were normally given an allowance of ale that ran into the liters per day. And it wasn't weak stuff, either, as their bread, cheese, and ale all tended to be very robust.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: In the UK in the 1960s 2/3 of adults smoked. Today it is 1/3. This applies that idea to alcohol.

            Come to think of it, ordinary sailors in Nelson's navy (well, the navy of Nelson's time) had a right to something like half a pint of rum every day - and they got very stroppy if they didn't get it. I don't recall hearing that many of them fell of the yard arm or down the hatch. And they stuffed every other navy they fought - even two at a time, e.g. Trafalgar.

            1. MJI Silver badge

              Re: In the UK in the 1960s 2/3 of adults smoked. Today it is 1/3. This applies that idea to alcohol.

              The Royal Navy AFAIK still does drinking, in the Falklands the pilots would have a drink after a flight, they thought it was extremely civilised

    3. pixl97

      Re: In the UK in the 1960s 2/3 of adults smoked. Today it is 1/3. This applies that idea to alcohol.

      >Ban advertising of alcohol

      You might take it out of the mags, papers, and bus stops, but what about the internet? You think that facebook accounts telling you about $ewer_brew of the week won't try to fill the vacuum?

      Also, if you raise the cost of alcohol above the cost to make it illegally you create a black market, then you have to factor in the law enforcement costs of said black market. The enforcement costs are significant, possibly more then the tax income you raise.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tax the poor

    Fascinates me how associations of GPs and other doctors on high salaries can stomach the hypocrisy of suggesting minimum alcohol prices that are only of consequence to people on low incomes. Its like something from the nineteenth century. The people behind these reports should be required to publish their own income as an appendix so we can judge the value of their opinions.

    1. Naughtyhorse

      Re: Tax the poor

      Re: Tax the poor

      Re: tax the assholes who get shitfaced on a couple of gallons of cheap booze every weekend and make everyone else's life a misery, and cost each and every one of us sensible types a small fortune on the provision of police and health services required to deal with their inability to behave like human beings.

      there fixed it for you.

      1. magrathea

        Re: Tax the poor

        "tax the assholes who get shitfaced on a couple of gallons of cheap booze every weekend and make everyone else's life a misery"

        I hate to nitpick, but there is no extra charge in this proposal for making people's life a misery, just a charge for getting shitfaced. So you can still make people's lives a misery, so long as you don't get shitfaced and you will still get charged for being shitfaced even if you don't make people's lives a misery. See how it works? Also, there are already a raft of 'charges' for making people's lives a misery; fines and imprisonment

  22. PyLETS
    Pint

    Won't affect how much it costs me

    Won't affect the price of sugar, malt, hops, yeast or yeast nutrient. Or the amount of time it takes to pick blackberries. Doesn't change the price of fruit juices or grape extract. Most of the beer or wine available in the shops is crap anyway, unless you buy the more expensive stuff.

  23. BeerTokens

    Advertising

    I think the ban on advertising and large alcohol promotions would be the most effective as AC above points out that a ban on advertising would hopefully get people drinking better quality drinks. When you drink something you enjoy you tend to savour the taste, buy an 8% beer blonde in Bruges for 10 euros and you don't tend to down it in 20 minutes.

    But if as they are planning just implement a minimum price on alcohol all it will do is give the producers more money to spend on advertising, thus meaning we are drinking the same shit but paying more for it.

    As an independent off licence I would welcome some balance in the duty paid on different types of alcohol( I mean wine, beer, ect. not ethanol, methanol mr pendant) If for instance all paid the same duty say 25pence per unit and 20 pence per unit if you produce less than 10 000 units a year (similar to the reduction seen in the brewing industry) it would give a level playing field and also encourage a more diverse market.

    With regard to a level playing field customs/HMRC needs to check the source of all this cheap alcohol, can we really trust the supermarkets to self regulate. I still have not been able to explain how some of the big boys can knock out a bottle of wine for £3.33 when VAT and duty on this would be £2.45 Leaving £0.88 for profit, production, marketing, bottling. Bottled water costs more!

    So in summary ban advertising of alcohol, introduce minimum prices through Alcohol duty not as an after thought, make sure that alcohol is being sold with duty paid on it.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Advertising

      "But if as they are planning just implement a minimum price on alcohol all it will do is give the producers more money to spend on advertising, thus meaning we are drinking the same shit but paying more for it."

      Actually, that raises an interesting point. Is this minimum price per unit something the manufactures are expected to charge or is this a simple increase in duty? Who gets the extra money? Or is it a combination of duty+VAT added to a tiny price rise by the manufacturer?

      1. BeerTokens

        Re: Advertising

        as it stands the minimum price will be set at retail. So at 50p/unit a bottle of 12% wine would be £4.50, of that £4.50 £1.90 is Duty £0.75 is VAT leaving £1.85 for production/marketing/profit etc. taking my earlier example of a £3.33 bottle costing £0.88 it would give an additional £1.00 to the supply chain whether they spend that on a better base product or on advertising will be pure speculation.

        Another point of interest as the price is at retail if you have a Makro or Booker or another cash and carry account you can carry on buying your alcohol from them (wholesale prices) which is another reason to use the base duty of alcohol as a mechanism than this poorly thought out strategy.

        In essence I support this but it needs to be done properly or not at all.

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Advertising

      "I think the ban on advertising and large alcohol promotions would be the most effective as AC above points out that a ban on advertising would hopefully get people drinking better quality drinks. "

      This is the idea.

      "But if as they are planning just implement a minimum price on alcohol all it will do is give the producers more money to spend on advertising, thus meaning we are drinking the same shit but paying more for it."

      That's is the wrong notion.

      If anything the price is good, but the ban is essential

      Consider how much F1 bunged NuLabour to keep advertising on their cars.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Advertising

        Not an F1 follower, so ignorant question for edification.

        Which F1 teams sport alcohol advertising?

      2. Philip Lewis
        IT Angle

        Re: Advertising

        rotfl

        "NuLabour"

        I read that as "Null Labour" and thought it hilarious. Was that your intent?

  24. Graham Marsden
    Boffin

    Educate...

    ... Don't legislate.

    That is all.

  25. Blue Philly

    Cannabis

    Legalise weed.

  26. stewwy
    WTF?

    Right some Idiots thought, 'We've got the great depression at the moment, Errrrrr, wasn't that about the same time as Prohibition, so let's try that for a laugh' Brilliant! another well thought out policy.

  27. Winkypop Silver badge
    Pint

    What next?

    Urine testing before you buy any booze at a bottle-shop (off-license)

    Shop keeper: Son, can you fill this?

    [shows customer a specimen jar]

    Customer: Yes, but not from here.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Re: What next?

      That is what US Budweiser is for!

  28. jubtastic1
    Big Brother

    2013 progress report

    Smoking 2007

    Boozing 2013

    Coffee 2015

    Porn 2018

    Red meat 2020

    The will to live 2020

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 2013 progress report

      You are saying what I thought.

      First they came for the smokers and everyone applauded.

      Then they came for the boozers but most pubs were already empty.

      Then they came for the coffee because everyone said it was bad for you.

      Then they came for the individuals but there was no one to complain any more

    2. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      Re: 2013 progress report

      I think you'll find they've made considerable in-roads on the porn issue. Having a drawing of a woman with small breasts will likely find you in prison and/or on the sex offenders register, depending on the level of severity (more severe -> register, less severe -> prison)

    3. Naughtyhorse
      Joke

      Re: 2013 progress report

      note to self:

      registet www.wheresalltheporngone.com tomorrow

  29. Anonymous C0ward
    Pint

    Make it more expensive in supermarkets

    And cheaper where consumed on the premises. Possible advantages include reducing preloading, reducing drinking in public places, helping the pub trade, moving drinking to where the barman/bouncer can say "you've had enough, mate".

    1. Stacy
      Thumb Down

      Re: Make it more expensive in supermarkets

      Or get the pubs to stay open so people don't have to pre-drink and educate (it's not going to happen overnight) so that people don't order 4 pints at closing time!

      Leave the price in the supermarket alone! Assuming the people who are priced out of drinking don't turn to drinking fermented Ribena (the drink of choice for many when I was at Uni as beer was too expensive) then you will only affect a very small amount of people. The rest will simply have to pay more.

      Trying to get people to drink responsibly is the problem. When I first moved to Holland it was very noticeable that most of the real drunks were not Dutch, but the English expats who didn't know how to drink. Expensive beer (in 2000 a fiver a pint) did nothing to stop the expats drinking themselves silly!

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    simple

    Just require all alcoholic drinks to include the same information on their labelling as other foods - while it wont affect the truly committed, seeing the calorie count will discourage several groups allegedly prone to heavy drinking.

  31. teknopaul Silver badge

    price control just dont work

    Some of my best alcoholics are rich friends.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wrong Target

    What they should be targeting is the soft drinks industry. As a light drinker (<6 units per week) aged 30, I was mortified to find out at a recent health checkup that my liver function tests came back looking as bad as if I'd been drinking a litre of vodka several times a week for the last 10 years. Suspected cause - refined sugar.

    If I'm just a very small sample (I only took the health check for tax reduction purposes, most 30 year olds I know still think they're indestructible so don't bother with such things), and I know plenty of other people who drink soft drinks at least as heavily as I did, then as a society we're setting ourselves up for a very nasty shock over the next 30 years

    At the very least, we need to start taxing it so that we can fund the NHS when livers start popping left, right, and centre...

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Wrong Target

      "I only took the health check for tax reduction purposes"

      Err...what? Can you expand on that please?

  33. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Pint

    Having

    recently had treatment for heart disease, can someone please tell these 'health' groups to f*** off and die.

    In my case, I dont smoke (major cause) , drank 2 pints of beer a day(ok a bit much maybe but nowhere near damaging levels), exercised(a major prevention), ate decently ie no pizzas/ready horsemeat meals(another prevention) and I STILL got heart disease......

    Ok I cant drink at the moment thanks to the drugs, but heres a beer for when I'm off them

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Having

      "In my case, I dont smoke (major cause) , drank 2 pints of beer a day(ok a bit much maybe but nowhere near damaging levels), exercised(a major prevention), ate decently ie no pizzas/ready horsemeat meals(another prevention) and I STILL got heart disease......"

      Which raises the question how many generations of your family died of heart attacks? Heat disease is like breast cancer and if you're a women and several female relatives have it that's a pretty big clue you've got problems above the average.

      You're the inverse to Lemmy from Motorhead (bottle of whiskey a day and a diabetic). How can he not have heart trouble?

      You might call it luck but I'll suspect he's better genetically equipped to metabolize alcohol, and it's breakdown products.

      That's the "bad luck" people talk about in this argument.

      1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Having

        Well it could be inherited since my dad had a minor heart problem last year

        But since he's 84 I doubt it somehow,

        Only other relatives had heart trouble both smoked 20+ a day

        And as I told the docs.... going by family history I'm far more likely to die of cancer by a factor of 4

        More virtual beer.. for when I can drink again

        1. Winkypop Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Having

          Sorry to hear mate.

          I'll have a few coldies in your honour.

  34. IT Hack
    Pint

    Why stop at advertising booze? Make it across the board - ban ALL advertising. That I would happily support. My life would be far happier as well. The health benefits of a happy human compared to one under the kosh to buy this and that and whaterver else is really rather well known.

    Pint coz I want one...and one not driven by advertising.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      95% of statistics

      I was once informed by someone who could reasonably assumed to know, that 95% of all products sold, are sold without the benefit of "advertising".

      * I did not write "consumer products"

      ** It somewhat depends on your definition of advertising, but you sure as hell better have a good definition if you want to ban it!

  35. Mr Templedene
    FAIL

    Strikes me this "report" has in the main been cut and pasted from some puritanical american document, I can't name a single UK town or city that has a "downtown"

    Wonder if they had permission to copy it?

    1. Naughtyhorse

      single UK town or city that has a "downtown"

      translation required

      it's called the 'town centre', and every town has one these days

      1. h3

        Re: single UK town or city that has a "downtown"

        I thought a downtown was a less desirable alternative town centre.

        Only the biggest cities have them. (Brixton and Stratford in London etc). Not the west end.

  36. siggjen

    Sonds like a copy of the Norwegian model

    But is it really working in Norway?

    Maybe to a little extent, people are drinking home and anly go to pubs in the middle of the night to save drinking cost ...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sonds like a copy of the Norwegian model

      Not to mention that they almost all have relatives who are experts at constructing sophisticated basement stills ;)

  37. FutureShock999
    Boffin

    Not about the drinking...

    I can say that some of the overwhelming reasons people drink to excess in the UK are 1) the shite weather much of the year that prohibits many outside activities for much of the year 2) a cultural norm that it is simply not acceptable to speak freely and openly to people unless you can claim to be drunk 3) a severe lack of social mobility that is often drowned out with alcohol. Raising the prices does nothing to address these and other driving factors - so a price rise will have no affect other than to lower the overall standard of living, as other necessities will be cut in the budget to provide room for the rise. Exactly what is needed in a recession...NOT. Poor policy.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      FAIL

      @FutureShock999

      Do you actually live in the UK?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not about the drinking...

      I agree 100% particularly about the "let them eat cake" side, to allowing cheap booze. Helps to distract from the real issues, obviously, such as the general crash in living standards and work conditions since the 1990s or earlier.

  38. Dan Paul
    Devil

    Hypocrites.....

    I find it amusing that when Nanny England wants to take away your right to a stiff drink 7/8ths of the population will be rioting in the streets. However when they took away all your other rights, there's usually no more than a whimper.

    I and many others here in the US feel as passionate about our second amendment rights to own, keep and bear firearms of our choosing without the likes of national socialist politicians standing on the graves of victims for their own political agrandizement and repeatedly violating our civil and Constitutional rights.

    Reread your posts and substitute Guns for Alcohol and you will see your hypocrisy.

    Once you open the door to being led around by the nose and milked for everything you got; don't expect to be able to keep ANY rights you hold near and dear. The argument they use is always the same, they know what's best for the common man, this is the beginning of the end of your freedom, unless you stand up and make damn sure they understand you will not let them control your lives.

    And no, this is NOT an overreaction, fuck all authoritarian, feel good holyier than thou cocksucking politicians.

    They are the sole reason why the world is in the state we are in right now and they should be the last people that deserve our attention or our trust.

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: Hypocrites.....

      "Reread your posts and substitute Guns for Alcohol and you will see your hypocrisy."

      Hmm, OK, let's try that:

      1) If the price goes up too much, we'll just make our own guns.

      2) If the price goes up too much, we can go to France to buy guns.

      3) My using guns doesn't harm anyone else.

      So far it isn't going well for you.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Hypocrites.....

        1) If the price goes up too much, we'll just make our own guns.

        You'd be surprised how true that statement can be. The truly dedicated are capable of fashioning their own guns from scratch using machining tools available to everyone. Plus, some designs were designed to be simple to make, like the Sten.

        2) If the price goes up too much, we can go to France to buy guns.

        Wherever it's convenient. Smuggling guns is a known black market activity because of the guns that you simply can't get elsewhere because of laws or whatever.

        3) My using guns doesn't harm anyone else.

        I don't know if you meant to be sarcastic or now (you give no indication), but I can tell you that all three of these can SERIOUSLY be true, whether it be for guns or for alcohol or even for drugs (where #1 appears in the form of hidden pot farms, meth, "bath salts", and other synthetic drugs).

      2. John Savard Silver badge

        Re: Hypocrites.....

        2) If the (price goes up too much/legal restrictions become too severe), we can go (across the border) to buy guns.

        Hey, that argument may not work so well for the U.K., but it works just great here in Canada.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hypocrites.....

        My using guns doesn't hurt ANYONE because I'm not shooting at any humans. OWNING Guns does not hurt anyone. When will you sniveling simpering fruitbats grow up and understand that?

        Misusing them does, but that true of any tools. You can kill people with alcohol also, but responsible drinkers don't kill anyone either. Plenty of people commit suicide by drinking, at least one of my parents did for sure.

        How about the large number of comments stating effectively (not literally) "they can take my ale from my cold dead hands"?

        Price controls = thinly veiled threats to make moonshine? Well I CAN make guns if I need to but would rather not be told what I can do with a legally procured device, JUST like you would rather just be allowed to with booze you buy.

        Prohibition of any kind does not work. There is plenty of evidence to that.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hypocrites.....

      At least the Euros don't run the largest Socialist operation in history- that would be the fully taxpayer-funded US military, and all the red states sucking at its teats, again, fully funded by your tax dollars (and those of your children and future grandchildren, without their permission).

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Licenses, waiting periods, limits on how much can be purchased

    Obviously, we need to have:

    1) Licenses to buy alcohol, with rigorous background checks. Anybody convicted of a crime, or who has received any form of mental health care, or even accused of spousal abuse, must be rejected. And of course the final say on these licenses must be given to the local chief of police, who may reject the license application for any reason, without supplying a reason. And there must be no time limit on how long the chief of police takes to issue such a license.

    2) All alcohol must be stamped with a unique registration number, and registered with the local police.

    3) We must close the loophole of people buying alcohol for others at bars - we must require strict paperwork tracking the sale of alcohol, identifying who bought what. That paperwork must be kept on file at the local police department.

    4) Doctors should be encouraged to ask their patients if they have alcohol at home. It should be noted on their files, and they should be viewed as "at risk". Their insurance companies should be notified so that the proper rate hikes can be applied.

    5) Cheap liquor should be banned. It has no purpose, and is often consumed by criminals. I propose we call all such liquor "Saturday Night Specials."

    6) Magnum bottles have no purpose, and should be banned.

    7) Anything with a large percentage of alcohol should be banned - it has no purpose. 3.2 beer is plenty for your drinking.

    8) High capacity containers should be banned - no six packs! Ideally, all alcohol should be sold in single serving containers, with large metal fasteners to prevent rapid opening, maybe held on with large bolts. I propose we call such containers "bolt action".

    9) Small, easily concealed containers of alcohol should be banned as well.

    10) Of course, manufacturing your own alcohol is strictly prohibited, and should be punishable by imprisonment.

    11) In order to prevent people from stealing alcohol, all alcohol must be locked in safes unless being used. Anybody who fails to lock their alcohol in a safe and has it stolen is liable for any harm done with the alcohol.

    12) All alcohol should be in containers that biometricly identify the drinker, and refuse to dispense unless that identity is confirmed. And who cares what costs this adds - if it saves one child it is worth it!

    13) All users should be required to provide a sample of any alcohol to local law enforcement, so that if any alcohol is found at a crime scene, it can be matched to that sample.

    14) Penalties for any crime involving alcohol need to be at least 10 times worse - even if the alcohol was only present at the crime but did not factor into the crime.

    15) Anybody who owns alcohol, or has a license to purchase alcohol should have a special notation on their driver's license, so that when officers pull them over, the officer can know there is a potential for them to have alcohol.

    After all, alcohol kills thousands of people every month - including innocent children! We MUST think of the children! And you have no right to alcohol. It is a carry over from more primitive times, and we, as a society, should move on and consign it to the past.

  40. Rob 5

    It's 9AM on a Saturday morning here...

    ... and that feed of shite has just prompted me to put down my mug of coffee and have a shot of tequila.

    Wankers!

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've no problem at all with people drinking themselves to death, so long as they don't go to the NHS and expect help.

    Who can forget George Best, he had two perfectly good livers and ruined them both. Someone else on the organ donor list could have had that instead of that fool.

    1. Naughtyhorse

      so long as they don't go to the NHS

      but they do!

      and it's set to get worse when the long term effects kick in.

      hence the need for 'something' to be done, this may not be 'it', but it's a start.

      1. Philip Lewis
        Holmes

        @naughtyhorse

        How about disbanding the NHS and replacing it with private insurance (which implies personal responsibility)?

        It is just as logical, and probably a better idea and cheaper idea

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @naughtyhorse

          I guess the downvoter didn't understand the irony.

  42. Circadian
    WTF?

    "evidence based" my arse

    Let's see - where is the evidence that people addicted to alcohol are "price sensitive" in that they will drink less if price is increased? From other addictions it seems that more healthy items like food or shelter are sacrificed to feed the problem - are they saying that alcohol addiction will turn out different? Mucking fuppets.

    Only real reason I can see this being pushed so hard right now is that increased prices will mean increased taxes (government don't just take a duty on it, but a percentage as well). Follow the money, not just the moralists.

  43. Steve Graham
    Pint

    Have they even MET a problem drinker?

    I'd be prepared to bet real money that a minimum price per unit, if introduced, would have absolutely zero effect on alcohol's health and social problems in the UK. (I'd also be prepared to bet that the promotors of such a policy will be the last to keep good statistics before and after to be able to tell the difference.)

    Consumption is clearly very weakly linked to price, if at all, as anyone who has actually known a problem drinker will be aware.

    As someone noted above, countries where alcohol is relatively more expensive actually have worse problems than those where it's cheap. But it seems to me that it's a North-South divide, with us unhappy Celts, Anglo-Saxons and Scandinavians abusing the drug, while our merry Mediterranean neighbours don't (so much).

    In other words, it's a cultural and social problem, and those are always slow, difficult and expensive to fix. Which is why politicians want to do something quick, easy and cheap (for them) instead. It won't work, but they're "doing something".

    One thing I particularly resent is putting the additional cost to the consumer into the pockets of the supermarkets, as if they needed it. The morality of it would sit better with me if the prices were increased through taxation.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Meh

      Re: Have they even MET a problem drinker?

      "In other words, it's a cultural and social problem, and those are always slow, difficult and expensive to fix. Which is why politicians want to do something quick, easy and cheap (for them) instead. It won't work, but they're "doing something"."

      So the whole banning advertising (to stop people thinking its a good idea in the first place) and putting a floor price on alcohol (so the borderline people think "OK maybe 1 bottle, not 2 this time") won't stop an alcoholic.

      But it will substantially reduce the next generation of would-be alkies.

      Again this strategy is like the cigarette strategy. It's taken a generation, but it's cut the source by 50%.

      And yes. I know both heavy smokers and heavy drinkers.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Have they even MET a problem drinker?

      It's a weather problem, see previous post

      1. Piro

        Re: Have they even MET a problem drinker?

        You might be on to something there.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All Methodists?

    Puritanism, and the removal of fun, have been a key theme of a number of groups in the UK. Their motivation is a Methodist-like zeal to prevent drinking.

    It's been tried before, and failed. Britain had ridiculous pub hours, resulting in everyone going to bed by 10:30.

    And Scotland banned drinking on Sunday. Now there is (and always has been) a lot of youth drinking. It seems to be tied to youth unemployment rates, so maybe the answer is to find jobs, or even conscription.

    Of course, hardly anyone is a serious Christian anymore, so pandering to a tiny minority of them isn't likely to get many votes. Any politician who bows to the vociferous pressure may find that more liberal candidates supersede them.

    1. John G Imrie

      Re: All Methodists?

      Methodist's are allowed to drink. That wasn't the reason I left them

      1. Winkypop Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: All Methodists?

        Jesus was a binge drinker.

        I mean, water to wine.

        FFS!

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Would the ban be on products or the company?

    I can see how they could ban the promotion/sponsorship of a particular beer/alcoholic drink etc, but what if the company (Carling, let's say) also produces non-alcohol products, e.g. zero alcohol beer?

    Most alcohol sponsorship I see is for the company/brand (carling cup, etc) and not a specific drink - so would they be banned because one (or more) of their products is alcoholic?

    If so, would this translate to banning a chocolate manufacturer from advertising/sponsoring because they produce chocolate liquers, or would the company have to produce a certain percentage of non-alcohol products in order to get past the ban?

    PS. I don't know the answer but can see issues and or work arounds.

    1. BeerTokens

      Re: Would the ban be on products or the company?

      Think that would depend on what would be considered their core business. Otherwise you would see Benson & Hedges moving into the aftershave market and advertising that instead.

      As Sainsburys sell their own wine would this mean a ban on all their adverts? To argue that the producer/name on the label of nearly 30% of what occupies their wine shelves is not a major producer may be hard for them to do. It could be interesting to see the how that one played out.

    2. John Savard Silver badge

      Re: Would the ban be on products or the company?

      In Canada, we closed the loophole when companies that made cigarettes tried sponsoring cultural events with their company names. Presumably, any company that made any alcoholic beverage would be totally banned from using any form of advertising whatsoever - so if you make wine, and also make grape juice, or chocolates, then you would no longer be able to advertise your grape juice or chocolates. If you want to advertise those products, stop making wine. Simple - and leaves no back door, no loopholes.

  46. Horridbloke
    Unhappy

    You may take my beer...

    ... when you prise it from my cold dead hands.

    (Definitely a frowny-face.)

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Happy

      Re: You may take my beer...

      "... when you prise it from my cold dead hands.

      Homer Simpson, freedom fighter.

      Hahahahahahahahahaha

  47. ToonArmyBarmy
    Happy

    I am Drunk!

    Hey I just got home and cooked food for my beloved and I am very drunk! 50p a unit is no problem to me or my friends unless you are going to reduce the price to that?

    Happy Geordie!

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Parliament?

    If the price rises are legislated, I wonder what the net effect will be in the dozens of bars within the sacred precincts of Parliament? No doubt our glorious MPs and Cronies will put their hands in their pockets along with all the rest of us?

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    1. PhilBuk
      Unhappy

      Re: Parliament?

      You mean the same bars where smoking is still allowed?

      Phil.

  49. FanniM

    The unintended consequence of raising the price might be that people start stealing it. The only part I agree with is reducing the drink-drive limit.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      The drink drive limit is fine

      It is people drinking a lot more who are the issue

      The lower limit countries also have lower punishments

  50. Heathroi
    Pint

    ...the horror thought that someone, somewhere maybe enjoying themselves......

  51. Sil

    Absolutely not exxagerated

    Just love those estimates directly coming out of their a.., just like poor Elon Musk and his $100m newspaper article.

  52. Oliver 7

    Tyrrany

    If we are to be mothered, mother must know best. . . . In every age the men who want us under their thumb, if they have any sense, will put forward the particular pretension which the hopes and fears of that age render most potent. They ‘cash in.’ It has been magic, it has been Christianity. Now it will certainly be science. . . . Let us not be deceived by phrases about ‘Man taking charge of his own destiny.’ All that can really happen is that some men will take charge of the destiny of others. . . . The more completely we are planned the more powerful they will be.

    . . . .

    Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. Their very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be ‘cured’ against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.

    —C. S. Lewis, God in the Dock

    1. Philip Lewis
      Thumb Up

      Re: Tyrrany

      "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. Their very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be ‘cured’ against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.

      —C. S. Lewis, God in the Dock"

      One for the bucket list of books to read methinks.

  53. Tristram Shandy
    Pint

    The Death of the British Pub

    The main loser in the supermarkets' alcohol price wars has been the glorious traditional pub.

    When I was first introduced to pub culture there was no difference in the cost of beer between the pub and the off-licence. If you wanted to buy beer at our local off-licence, it was usually a choice between bottles of Double Diamond or cans of Long Life, or if you were heading to a party, Watneys' Party Seven.

    Today most pubs in the UK are owned by pub companies rather than brewers, and they are, by and large, property businesses, with beer provisioning coming second. As a retired person, I really can't afford to go out that often, and rely on supermarkets to deliver interesting bottles of ale.

    I don't know what the average cost of a pub pint is now, but on my weekly outing to the pub quiz, my pint of Sam Smith's is £1.80. This is way below anywhere else.

    One of the reasons the price is comparatively low is that it is a tied pub, which the Beer Orders legislation sought to to reduce the number of. Pubs provide a controlled atmosphere where excessive drinking can be regulated ('You're Barred!'). Encourage the social drinking fostered by pub culture financially and you are on the the way to moderated dring.

  54. C. P. Cosgrove

    The Scottish position

    The AC above is incorrect about Scotland banning Sunday drinking - what we did was invent the 'Bona-fide Traveller' and provided a steady income for bus hire companies. You had to travel more than three miles from where you lived to be considered 'Bona-fide' ! You were not allowed to drink within three miles of your home.

    The debate about mininum pricing has raged longer here than elsewhere in the UK. While personally I am in two minds about it, I agree with others above that it should be done through taxation rather than making retailers set a mininum price. If it is to happen, I would rather see any increased take going to the public coffers than to those of TESCO, ASDA etc.

    For myself, I am inclined to agree with Stacy of Holland, above. There is a lot of very good beer brewed in the UK, but I am still glad that I manage to get to Belgium a couple of times a year.

    Chris Cosgrove

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      There's a reason they have to use Min Pricing in Scotland

      Simply that control of Duty is at Westminster, Holyrood isn't allowed to raise duty.

      Publicans actually welcome this as a way of trying to slow down the demise of pubs, but the point many posters either don't know, or are choosing to ignore, is that min pricing, restricted advertising are only two of the measures being taken.

      We do have a binge "Drink until you collapse in a taxi" culture in the UK, it's not healthy in so many ways.

      Now, the "mediterranean model" where booze is seen as no great thing would be nice, but it's not even true for there. I have a pal from the hinterlands of the south of Spain (wee bit north of Huelva) and I know that the guys there have the same "If you are not completely ratted then your not a real man" attitude we have here.

      Reducing consumption of alcohol, particularly in the young, and particularly if we can delay it in the young, is no bad thing.

      1. EvilGav 1

        Re: There's a reason they have to use Min Pricing in Scotland

        Do we really have a "drink until you collapse in a taxi" culture or do we have a minority who make it seem as such?

        I drink in local hostelry's on a regular basis, the number of people I see in the above mentioned state is minimal. I'm aware there are other areas of the city (Edinburgh) where this is more of a problem, which suggests it's a clientele specific problem and not a cultural problem.

        There are some people who cannot go to the pub and *not* get completely bladdered, it seems to be their way, but that isn't culture, that's personal.

        This is legislation based on assumption - the assumption is that everyone is a border-line alcoholic, otherwise there is no possible way pricing would make any large scale impact on the problem.

  55. Infernoz Bronze badge

    Laws of Supply and Demand; what bunk

    Read Steve Keen, he thoroughly demolishes the Neo-Classicals' BS laws of Supply and Demand.

    Peoples behavior is not linear and can be counter intuitive; price rises can even boost demand!

    Look at cigarette smokers, how has price affected them?

    This is the Hegelian Dialectic BS in action, look for the causes e.g.

    * some (probably government funded) group starts a scare to trigger a campaign for the government, to "do something", so that the government can make fake a solution, but never a genuine fix!

    * government taxation (aka robbery from people and business, shrinking moral and jobs)

    * government regulation (shrinking jobs and stifling productive businesses, so shrinking moral),

    * government protected big corporations (stopping small business growing and replacing these zombies),

    * government banned less harmful plant extracts (tarred as drugs), rather than ending support for harmful pharmaceuticals and dangerous artificial food additives (both made by big business)

    which can make alcohol more harmful!

    etc.

    See a pattern here? Yes, government.

    Read Rothbard to get a solution.

    1. Naughtyhorse

      Re: Laws of Supply and Demand; what bunk

      Look at cigarette smokers, how has price affected them?

      down 50% in 20 odd years????

      they cant all have died (well i haven't...<cough cough cough> yet)

  56. Lord Zedd
    FAIL

    No, really?

    Alcohol is bad? Ya don't say? You had to do a whole study to figure that out?

  57. Rick594
    Pint

    I find that excess alcohol causes AIDS and HIV (Alcohol Induced Dizziness and Sickness / Heineken Induced Vomiting) .

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Heineken Induced Vomiting doesn't need excess alcohol, I find one sip of that swill enough to make me sick....

  58. This post has been deleted by its author

  59. Irongut Silver badge

    cost of alcohol... £7.5bn for Scotland

    Or about a pound a year per head. Cheaper than a deep fried mars bar.

    1. EvilGav 1
      FAIL

      Re: cost of alcohol... £7.5bn for Scotland

      I wasn't aware that the entire worlds population lived in Scotland ??

  60. gc 1

    Prohibition Warm-ups

    Unlike the common perception the Abstinence Fairy did not just wing in and curse the United States with Prohibition. Prohibition was the culmination of a long and misguided movement (the Temperance Movement) that proposed many of the things proposed in the article until they finally managed to get Prohibition.

    Prohibition gave the United States an unprecedented level of violent crime, the classic "italian era" of organized crime, criminalized untold thousands of otherwise law abiding persons and led to the only instance of a constitutional amendment being repealed. Sort of like the modern "War Against Drugs" though that comes sans the constitutional nonsense.

    Look at the history of the United States and in this one instance cry out "GOD! Let's not get even CLOSE do that level of self-destructive madness!!" and do something else. There are an awful lot of choices...

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Happy

      Re: Prohibition Warm-ups

      "Look at the history of the United States and in this one instance cry out "GOD! Let's not get even CLOSE do that level of self-destructive madness!!" and do something else. There are an awful lot of choices..."

      Amen to that brother.

      But RTFA first eh?

      It's about banning advertising not alcohol.

      The British govt is not quite that stupid.

      1. Dan Paul
        Devil

        Re: Prohibition Warm-ups (Yes, all governments are THAT STUPID)

        Listen up fools,

        It only BEGINS with small incremental changes that no one can really object to ("Just advertising"), then you get the New World Carrie Nations speaking up on their soapboxes (blogs, letters to the editors, sermons etc), then some politician gets a "bright idea" to come up with a "feel good" bill (that no one can object to) and then that get's amended to ban everything everwhere and gets into your pants as well.

        When they ban advertising, they are banning free commerce and free speech.

        If you give the little fuckers an inch, they take a mile everytime.

      2. Vic

        Re: Prohibition Warm-ups

        > The British govt is not quite that stupid.

        [Citation needed]

        Vic.

  61. Shufflemoomin
    Thumb Down

    What a load of utter hyperbolic shite. Alcohol in moderation does no harm whatsoever and in many cases is beneficial. That's established. Why are these clowns coming along and trying to frame it as the likely cause of the apocalypse? It does damage to families, does it? Alcoholism causes all the things they're scaremongering about and that's a different issue altogether. Unless they're trying to imply that raising the price and halt advertising is the cure for alcoholism? Which would be on an even keel with the laughable statement they're already trying to make.

  62. The BigYin

    Westminster Bars

    Let's see the MPs lead by example and remove the subsidy from the bars in Westminster.

    And the EU stop the subsidised Champagne they have for themselves.

    And stop serving £100+ bottles of wine at various parliamentary junkets.

    Yeah - like that will happen. It'll be one rule for them, and one rule for us. As always.

    There's a reason Osbourne wants mega-corporates to pay 5% tax (or less) and high street shops to pay 30%. His friends don't run high street shops.

  63. A J Stiles

    Who didn't see this coming?

    Since the smoking ban, and with the advent of (1) OTC nicotine replacement therapy, (2) cheap imported tobacco and (3) homegrown cannabis that can be smoked "neat" without tobacco, an important revenue stream for the government has been closed down. This means they are going to have to get their money somewhere else, somehow.

    Many people drink alcohol, and everybody eats .....

  64. David Evans
    Pint

    A "problem" that doesn't need solving

    Alcohol consumption in the UK is already in year on year decline (a function of an ageing population and increased health awareness) and has been for nearly a decade, and the UK already has the highest alcohol duties in Europe (even more than Scandinavia now). So the "problem" is actually that people aren't drinking enough; UKGov could do with the money.

  65. MrXavia
    FAIL

    nanny state

    FFS, can't they leave anything alone?

    I drink, my wife drinks, but because my parents taught me how to drink responsibly there is no problem in my family caused by drink...

    bloody government trying to control everything through tax... its expensive enough as it is!!

    I sugest that when there is criminal damage, police are called, hospitalisation etc.. caused by excessive drink, then charge the bloody drinker directly! if they can afford to get pissed in todays world, then charge them weekly until they pay back the charged, maybe then people will think..

    I am fed up of the average drinker being bundled in with these binge drinkers!

  66. The Alpha Klutz
    Thumb Down

    alcohol is a shit drug

    if the government was that concerned they could legalize weed. many of these people just want an altered state of mind all day for gods sake weed is the safest way to do that. but since its not legal, we will turn to the strong lagers and cheap hooch. hahaha can you imagine how little of a diference it would make if a third of the can said "u will die liver cancer" well shit. im already contemplating death anyway - i want to go out by rush hour train on a friday afternoon in london. thats my ambition in life. for gods sake let me just have that.

  67. Grogan

    Fight this to the death

    Fight this... fight to get the funding from these do-gooder organizations removed. Never get manipulated into donating money, convince others not to, and when it comes to taxpayer money, vote against it and be loud about it.

    You don't want your country to become like Canada where booze is approaching $50 bucks a bottle (by the time you pay all the taxes), beer is $45 a case and cigarettes are $13 a package.

    You can't even drive anymore... you get extra judicial punishment at the road side for having 0.05 BAC and it's not even against the law. You don't get charged with anything, you get your vehicle impounded (and have to pay large to get it out) and a 7 day roadside license suspension. Cops were given those powers to use their discretion, for certain circumstances where their hands might have been tied, but they don't. All because of lobby groups like "Mothers Against Drunk Driving". I too am against actual "drunk driving" or even truly impaired driving, but these people are ridiculous and their propaganda influences people.

    This is where it starts, folks. Nip it in the bud before it gets worse, and spreads. All kinds of self righteous twats will come out of the woodword once these things gain momentum.

  68. This post has been deleted by its author

  69. Ben79
    Pint

    My beer?

    ...FROM MY COLD DEAD HANDS!!!!

  70. Super Fast Jellyfish
    Pint

    Proff Nutt

    Put Proff Nutt in charge of implementing this and his other suggestions and I'll go along with it...

  71. Jerome Fryer

    Banning advertising works. It was done here for a few years and drove down alcohol abuse considerably. But pushing this legal drug is, of course, a business; and the businesses were not happy with political interference in their right to sell as much alcoholic beverages as possible. Now we have prolific advertising, most sponsorship of sport is done by the alcohol industry, and they have 'alcopop' drinks targeting younger demographics.

    Pricing is probably irrelevant, and would simply be yet another regressive tax. Price sensitivity to illegal drugs is minor, so I see no reason why legal drugs would differ.

    While they're at it, how about banning ALL advertising? Think about how much of society's resources are wasted in trying to convince people to buy stuff that they don't need or want.

  72. cphi
    Unhappy

    £6.50 pints - doesn't seem to have had any impact

    In Perth, Aus, pints are routinely >$10 (£6.5) and we have almost identical headlines on binge-drinking, excessive consumption, epidemic of violence, etc, etc

    1. Winkypop Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: £6.50 pints - doesn't seem to have had any impact

      $10 is cheap, have you tried the Belgian Beer joint in Murray St?

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hahahahahahahahahaha

    As a smoker who watched them come for my vice, I'm sitting here laughing at all you drinkers who are suddenly discovering the truth about how once you let them start interfering in what individuals can do, you're fucked, cause eventually they'll come for yours too.

    My vice is taxed to death, but yours costs the country far more than mine ever has. I hope they right that wrong.

    1. Gray Ham

      Re: Hahahahahahahahahaha

      "My vice is taxed to death, but yours costs the country far more than mine ever has."

      Do you have a source for that? I'm going from DoHA figures, admittedly Australian, that show a slightly different picture:

      http://www.health.gov.au/internet/drugstrategy/publishing.nsf/Content/34F55AF632F67B70CA2573F60005D42B/$File/mono64.pdf

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hahahahahahahahahaha

        Nope I don't, said figures do exist I just can't be arsed to go find them.

        As you'll see from so many posts before mine we have a particular problem in Britain with 'yoofs' getting tanked up and causing vast amounts of damage across large parts of Britain. The costings include all of that damage, as well as the cost f having numerous A&E departments in our health service filled with tanked up young hardmen, and their victims every Friday and Saturday night.

        1. nichomach

          Re: Hahahahahahahahahaha

          The Kings Fund estimated the additional cost of smoking related conditions at about £1.5bn per annum, last time they published any research. *Duty alone* on tobacco was raking in over £8bn and VAT was charged on the total price including duty, so that added maybe another couple of billion or so (although that VAT might have been charged on whatever else the smoker might have bought instead of tobacco). The £8bn is utterly tobacco dependent, however.

    2. John P
      Pint

      Re: Hahahahahahahahahaha

      I was accused of just being a bitter smoker when they brought in the smoking ban and I said that alcohol would be next. Now I can take the moral low ground and paraphrase what my social-drinking non-smoking friends said at the time.

      "I don't drink therefore it's not my problem if they're making it harder for you to indulge your dirty habit."

      "unhealthy" foods will be next, the meaning of unhealthy will of course be defined by an over-funded self-serving Quango.

      Nanny state, please can I have some more?

      Pint - Soon available only from behind the counter in unbranded bottles featuring pictures of diseased livers.

  74. Gray Ham

    No RBT in the UK?

    From the recommendations of the report:

    "22. The legal limit for blood alcohol concentrati on for

    drivers should be reduced to 50mg/100ml.

    23. Random breath-testi ng of drivers should be

    introduced.

    24. Graduated driver licensing should be introduced,

    restricti ng the circumstances in which young and

    novice drivers can drive."

    Does this mean UK *doesn't* currently have RBT, 0.05 and P-Plate restrictions? They have been in place here for a considerable time and have some lasting effect on alcohol-related road trauma.

  75. Winkypop Silver badge
    Stop

    Stop it!

    Or you'll go blind (drunk)

  76. manyspendidgeek
    Pint

    So if I drink carb-loaded beer it'll be cheaper than drinking far healthier (in my particular case) wine or spirits? Lovely...

  77. Piro

    Doesn't really matter

    I tend to buy decent beer so I drink less of it anyway, it already costs far more than these proposals.

    But a minimum price surely sends loads of money straight into the hands of the supermarkets. Sounds like a poor idea. How about they raise taxes on booze in supermarkets and use it to directly subsidise booze in pubs!

    1. magrathea

      Re: Doesn't really matter

      "How about they raise taxes on booze in supermarkets and use it to directly subsidise booze in pubs!"

      Instead of wealth redistributiion to micromanage and shape the entire alcohol economy, why not repeal the smoking ban to again allow pubs to provide the services demanded by their clients?

  78. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wow!

    236 comments and counting.

    I see the esteemed readership know where their priorities lie!

  79. teebie

    "The simplest way to reduce demand for alcohol, is to put the price up"

    I'm pretty sure that's the simplest way to reduce the demand for food, clothing and shelter for alcoholics and their family.

  80. That Steve Guy
    Pint

    First smoking now drinking.

    Well if this goes how it went with Smoking, I guess a ban will be the next step a few years after this gets forced down our throats.

    Will there be any enjoyments left for the common man after this?

    A pint because well I could do with one!

  81. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can't target those with a problem, lets hit everyone!!

    "suppress its use, including sharply increased pricing and a ban on alcohol advertising and sponsorships.

    In developing this strategy, we considered the best available evidence about appropriate policies and interventions that are needed both to reduce drinking levels in individuals and reduce the damage to families and communities that alcohol can cause"

    So because other useless pikey tw*ts inablility to behave like an adult, everyone has to suffer these ridiculous restrictions?

    Typical English response! Why are the 'glish so useless at everything? Over 1/2 of them need to be tw*tted.

    Maybe if their parents raised them correclty, I wouldn't be surounded by idiots.

  82. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They did the same with Cigarettes

    Up the price, more smuggling and "Romanian" made counterfeits that do more harm than the original....

    Fine line to walk, but at least the "per unit" price will make tennants super and special brew only available to the drug dealers and pimps, not the cemetary step brigade

  83. Dan Paul
    Devil

    Global Assaults on Personal Freedom Continues, News at 11:00

    What does it take to get you people to realize that there is no difference between one assault on the ability to do what you want with legally owned property or another assault? These are the same things being done for the same reasons.

    Alcohol doesn't kill people, your inability to know when to stop drinking does. Ownership of alcohol does not kill anyone, it's misuse does. Advertising alcohol does not kill anyone, believing what advertisers say might kill you (depending on how stupid you are).

    Nanny politicians will take every advantage they can to increase their power.

    It is up to you to stop them now because if you don't, you can expect to be so suffocated by the government imposed "swaddling clothes" that you will never again be allowed to think or do for yourselves.

    This is exactly what "THEY" want, a herd of cows that can be led by the nose and milked of everything you have; just so you can support a class of scum sucking politicians in the lifestyle THEY wish to be accustomed to.

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