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Spinko
03-03-2012, 16:13
What is your opinion of this?

I see it as yet another government interference in the things that people enjoy doing. I don't agree with the idea that once they'd seen to the smokers they'd go after the drinkers, but you can see the luvvies charging their guns.

I think a quite popular petition could be a maximum unit price...

ETA
03-03-2012, 18:04
The main problem with it is that it's indiscriminate as it is context independent. What would be a more socially acceptable option would be to look on sales on alcoholic drinks in their setting rather than as a chemical unit. In any case, a minimum unit price will, like so many Government campaigns, ensure that the only people who suffer will be the moderate majority.

I advocate that a more constructive approach would be to impose a minimum unit price on supermarket sales but not on pub prices - this would in part redress the relative3 costs between having a pint in your local and drinking in your home. It would have the effect of getting younger drinkers back into pubs where their drinking practices can mature among a balanced social circle rather than promoting street corner and in-house bingeing. Some distinction should also be between imported alcohol products and those produced locally, while the relative health benefits of different drinks should also be considered - lower unit prices for organic wines than for blended whiskies, for example.

Al 10000
03-03-2012, 18:29
You are spot on with this one Spinko.
I have never smoked and think what they have done with smokers is not right,now the smoke police have seen them off they have nothing to do so they are now after the drinkers and i think they will win this one as well.
I am glad i am not a younger drinker as i have hopefully only another 20 years proper drinking left in me.

gillhalfpint
03-03-2012, 18:38
I haven't smoked for 25 years, but have sympathy for them, and feel drinkers are the next target. People on trains are the worst hit for smokers. My sister in Oban has a problem planning routes to visit English relations as she has to allow stopping at stations where she can get outside for a ciggy. Cannot do a straight journey anywhere.

oldboots
03-03-2012, 19:18
The health facists aren't too fussy about the target, smokers, drinkers, fat eaters etc. all grist to their mill. The lessons learned in the anti-smoking campaign are now being used in the anti-drink campaign, so that's "de-normalization", false health scares especially about passive damage, dodgy research, misinformation/selective stats/downright lies, advertising bans, and the continuous drip feed of negative stories (see Radio 4 every bloody day). These people are our biggest enemy and they're getting too sucessful - look at Cameron's drivel last week about anti social drinking.

At least Pete Brown is continuing the war against this shite here (http://www.londonlovesbusiness.com/browns-beer-the-booze-burden-is-hugely-inaccurate-the-government-is-wrong/1798.article#.T0zFO8nc389.twitter).

Don't be misled that minimum unit pricing will only affect supermarkets and JDW, after a while it will be ratcheted up and we'll all suffer, did you know in the EU only Finland has a higher rate of beer duty to us, we pay 40% of all EU beer tax but only drink 13% of production and our duty rate is 8X France's, 10X Spain's and 11X Germany's? The whole of the drinks industry and its customers need to join together to defeat these Neo-Pro scum bags.

:moremad::moremad::moremad::moremad::moremad::more mad::moremad::moremad::moremad::moremad::moremad:: moremad::moremad:

PS, Just spotted this quote on the Curmudgeon Blog:

"It may come as a shock to those who want to micromanage our lifestyles, but drinkers, smokers and lovers of fast food are not stupid. We’ve got the message that fags, booze and all the other wicked little pleasures are bad for us. The real reason that people engage in moderately unhealthy behaviours like these – so mildly unhealthy that we have to do them often and regularly over the course of decades to cause us serious harm – is that we enjoy them. We balance the long-term risks against short-term pleasure. That’s a far more sophisticated understanding of what it means to live life well than these grey and miserable latter-day Puritans could ever manage."

Farway
04-03-2012, 15:44
I reckon OB has it, the "health facists aren't too fussy about the target"

Plus increased price, by whatever means or figleaf, equals more tax take one way or the other, which no doubt Boy George would love, especially if cloaked under a "health" headline by the Daily Mail & BBC

sheffield hatter
04-03-2012, 20:56
"The real reason that people engage in moderately unhealthy behaviours like these – so mildly unhealthy that we have to do them often and regularly over the course of decades to cause us serious harm – is that we enjoy them. We balance the long-term risks against short-term pleasure. That’s a far more sophisticated understanding of what it means to live life well than these grey and miserable latter-day Puritans could ever manage."

George Harrison (1943-2001), smoker, died of lung cancer, aged 58. George Best (1946-2005), drinker, died of complications following a liver transplant due to alcoholism, aged 59.

Very sophisticated.

Farway
04-03-2012, 21:27
Not quite sure what your point is, no doubt we can all swap anecdotes about our grannies / grandads who smoked 80 / drank 10 pints a day, or both, and lived to be 99. Plus of course the sophisticated, non smoking / drinking folk who died age 45

sheffield hatter
04-03-2012, 21:38
Not quite sure what your point is...

My point is that alcohol, nicotine and sugar are addictive. Most users are hooked at a young age and have very little control over their habit. Not all smokers die of lung cancer, but 98% of lung cancer deaths are smokers or ex-smokers. For the vast majority of drinkers, smokers and fast-food addicts, I would guess, there is no very "sophisticated understanding" of their life choices.

And I think that the use of the phrase "health fascists" suggests that some of the contributors to this thread are not really making much of an informed choice about their own consumption. I agree that the beer duty escalator and minimum unit pricing are policies that are damaging to pubs, but to pretend that the harm caused by alcohol is the fantasy of "puritans" is ignoring the problem.

Al 10000
05-03-2012, 12:18
My point is that alcohol, nicotine and sugar are addictive. Most users are hooked at a young age and have very little control over their habit. Not all smokers die of lung cancer, but 98% of lung cancer deaths are smokers or ex-smokers. For the vast majority of drinkers, smokers and fast-food addicts, I would guess, there is no very "sophisticated understanding" of their life choices.

And I think that the use of the phrase "health fascists" suggests that some of the contributors to this thread are not really making much of an informed choice about their own consumption. I agree that the beer duty escalator and minimum unit pricing are policies that are damaging to pubs, but to pretend that the harm caused by alcohol is the fantasy of "puritans" is ignoring the problem.

I think you are on the wrong forum sheffield hatter,

This site is pro beer and pubs,and to say that we are all ill informed is wrong, we are not that thick that we dont know the slight risks of drinking beer but this is something that most people on this site do and enjoy doing.

sheffield hatter
05-03-2012, 13:14
I think you are on the wrong forum sheffield hatter,

This site is pro beer and pubs,and to say that we are all ill informed is wrong, we are not that thick that we dont know the slight risks of drinking beer but this is something that most people on this site do and enjoy doing.

I think if you read my post carefully you will find that I said that the use of the phrase "health fascists" suggests that some of the contributors to this thread are not really making much of an informed choice about their own consumption. I certainly did not say that everyone on Pubs Galore is ill informed - that would indeed have been wrong.

I am as pro-beer and pro-pubs as anyone you could find on this site. I think my track record speaks for itself.

Millay
05-03-2012, 13:54
I think if you read my post carefully you will find that I said that the use of the phrase "health fascists" suggests that some of the contributors to this thread are not really making much of an informed choice about their own consumption. I certainly did not say that everyone on Pubs Galore is ill informed - that would indeed have been wrong.

Agreed. We dont have many of these types of debate on the forums and it would be nice if people thought they could offer a contrary opinion without being vilified for it.

Quinno
05-03-2012, 14:04
My point is that alcohol, nicotine and sugar are addictive.

So was Championship Manager, back in the day.

NURSE! :D

Rex_Rattus
05-03-2012, 16:50
What is your opinion of this?

I see it as yet another government interference in the things that people enjoy doing.

I reckon that this is a matter of perspective. You (and I guess some other contributors) might regard the introduction of minimum pricing as "Government interference", but someone else could reasonably argue that the Government are doing their job in trying to tackle a social problem. The link with smoking is valid. When people are doing something that they enjoy doing - smoking where passive smoking is forced on others - that causes discomfort and misery to others then the Government has every right to do something about it. I know all the conflicting arguments, including those in favour of smoking - loss of tax revenue, effect on pub viability, nanny state, etc - but at the end of the day I reckon that the Government has behaved responsibly in this.

I am not saying that a minimum price per unit of alcohol will work in mitigating the negative social effects of alcohol. Frankly I don't know what overall effect it will have. No doubt there will be responsible drinkers who will struggle to afford a drink at home if the price increases dramatically. But on the other hand might it not also affect the drinking habits of those who make city centres such dreadfull places on Friday and Saturday nights? I have to say that I don't think that there will be much affect on those of us who drink in pubs. Unless the rate is set inordinately high then I would guess that only the Wetherspoons Ruddles Best promotions would be caught, although it would probably mark the end of the CAMRA vouchers.

In short, I reckon that it's the Government's job to interfere in the things people enjoy doing where they believe it's in the general good.

ETA
05-03-2012, 17:11
When people are doing something that they enjoy doing - smoking where passive smoking is forced on others - that causes discomfort and misery to others then the Government has every right to do something about it.

Hence "John Stuart Mill of his own free will on a half a pint of shandy..." (quite an apt reference, I thought).

But here's where the arguments relating to smoking and drinking differ, and so must be treated differently. Smoking has no positive health benefits, and second-hand has been proven to cause health problems in others. Responsibly consumed, alcohol CAN have positive health benefits, and has no DIRECT effect on others (changes in behaviour caused by alcohol are again a different issue as there are always aggravating factors). Reducing the availability of alcohol to violently inclined teenagers in a city centre hotspot may or may not reduce their inclination to misbehave - or it may induce them to higher levels of crime to pay for their current levels of consumption. Increasing the cost of vodka to the committed alky is most likely going to make him buy meths or distil his own instead. Whatever social issue it is that the Government wants to tackle by setting a minimum unit price i s doomed to failure unless it is put in context and supported by other appropriate measures.

Rex_Rattus
05-03-2012, 17:36
Reducing the availability of alcohol to violently inclined teenagers in a city centre hotspot may or may not reduce their inclination to misbehave - or it may induce them to higher levels of crime to pay for their current levels of consumption. Increasing the cost of vodka to the committed alky is most likely going to make him buy meths or distil his own instead.

I would have thought that reducing the availability would reduce their likelihood to misbehave, rather than induce higher theft rates to pay for the booze. But I don't know that of course. You're right about the committed alcoholic of course - they need some more drastic assistance than just having to pay more for their booze.

Al 10000
05-03-2012, 17:38
In short, I reckon that it's the Government's job to interfere in the things people enjoy doing where they believe it's in the general good.

If thats the case they will start banning everything because most things the we do are not that good for us,i think they should start by banning driving all those cars bombing around knocking people over and killing them, it must be good for the country if they ban this.

Spinko
05-03-2012, 19:43
I reckon that this is a matter of perspective. You (and I guess some other contributors) might regard the introduction of minimum pricing as "Government interference", but someone else could reasonably argue that the Government are doing their job in trying to tackle a social problem. The link with smoking is valid. When people are doing something that they enjoy doing - smoking where passive smoking is forced on others - that causes discomfort and misery to others then the Government has every right to do something about it. I know all the conflicting arguments, including those in favour of smoking - loss of tax revenue, effect on pub viability, nanny state, etc - but at the end of the day I reckon that the Government has behaved responsibly in this.

I am not saying that a minimum price per unit of alcohol will work in mitigating the negative social effects of alcohol. Frankly I don't know what overall effect it will have. No doubt there will be responsible drinkers who will struggle to afford a drink at home if the price increases dramatically. But on the other hand might it not also affect the drinking habits of those who make city centres such dreadfull places on Friday and Saturday nights? I have to say that I don't think that there will be much affect on those of us who drink in pubs. Unless the rate is set inordinately high then I would guess that only the Wetherspoons Ruddles Best promotions would be caught, although it would probably mark the end of the CAMRA vouchers.

In short, I reckon that it's the Government's job to interfere in the things people enjoy doing where they believe it's in the general good.

Can we really trust a government when they say they believe something is in the general good? They all act out of self-interest rather than public interest. The less government the better. Higher tax rates on alcohol will just make more people brew home-brew anyway (with all the dangers that involves?). If I didn't have a pokey flat I'd have probably started brewing for personal consumption some time ago.

Spinko
05-03-2012, 19:47
Hence "John Stuart Mill of his own free will on a half a pint of shandy..." (quite an apt reference, I thought).

But here's where the arguments relating to smoking and drinking differ, and so must be treated differently. Smoking has no positive health benefits, and second-hand has been proven to cause health problems in others. Responsibly consumed, alcohol CAN have positive health benefits, and has no DIRECT effect on others (changes in behaviour caused by alcohol are again a different issue as there are always aggravating factors). Reducing the availability of alcohol to violently inclined teenagers in a city centre hotspot may or may not reduce their inclination to misbehave - or it may induce them to higher levels of crime to pay for their current levels of consumption. Increasing the cost of vodka to the committed alky is most likely going to make him buy meths or distil his own instead. Whatever social issue it is that the Government wants to tackle by setting a minimum unit price i s doomed to failure unless it is put in context and supported by other appropriate measures.

I agree with most of this except I don't believe alcohol has any health benefits - the people who abstain are likely to be uptight in other areas of their life or have existing health problems which they need not to aggravate - this would tend to distort any large scale study on mortality rates of tee-totallers versus moderate drinkers.

However I would argue alcohol has huge social and spiritual benefits.

Rex_Rattus
05-03-2012, 20:56
Can we really trust a government when they say they believe something is in the general good? They all act out of self-interest rather than public interest. The less government the better.

Aye, that's the rub! The more government the better - as long as it's responsible government! More central control would be hugely beneficial - things like mandatory DNA registration at birth or on entry to the country; more CCTV monitoring, etc - but who could we trust with all that information and responsibility? No-one springs to mind. If only Big Brother could be trusted to do the best for us, and not misuse his powers.

Strongers
06-03-2012, 00:10
I agree with many of the points made on here. However, I’m alittle narked that seemingly all the social engineering that this government does involves more taxes. Smoking is bad for you so more tax, drinking is bad for you so more tax, and cars are bad for the planet so more tax!
In regards to the opening question about minimum unit price, I don’t think that it will affect us pub goers down south as we are already paying through the nose for a pint. £4 a pint is creeping up fast and I’m not talking about the square mile.
Mid December Tesco were selling 36 cans of generic lager for less than £20... Maybe the days of cleaning mud off the boots with fosters after a Christmas morning walk are gone as it’s no longer cheaper than water from the tap.

ETA
06-03-2012, 07:12
I agree with most of this except I don't believe alcohol has any health benefits - the people who abstain are likely to be uptight in other areas of their life or have existing health problems which they need not to aggravate - this would tend to distort any large scale study on mortality rates of tee-totallers versus moderate drinkers.
.

There's quite a lot of independent research on file to suggest there are health benefits. Some of it is socialogically based so is open to interpretation, and some of it is, as you say, reductionist in its approach so ignores other lifestyle factors.

Objective medical research has demonstrated that low levels of alcohol can reduce blood pressure, and blood levels below a damaging threshhold can promote tissue regeneration - surprisingly, even liver issue. European wines (white and red) contain high levels of antioxidants, some beers are rich in vitamin B etc etc etc.

However, the words "stochastic" and "threshhold" come up time and again, and there is no doubt that, as with any drug, excessive consumption will cause damage, often irreperable.

The social and spiritual benefits to which you refer are, I would argue, health benefits in their own right as mental and spritual wellbeing are very much part of our holistic health.

Now if you don't mind, I'm off to the pub to get seriously healthy.

hondo
06-03-2012, 10:40
"50 years ago on Tuesday, a key report was published that marked the beginning of a change in our relationship with smoking"

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-17264442

NickDavies
06-03-2012, 11:13
Might I suggest that the whole thing isn't really to do with health, though it is understandable that the debate on how we Brits misuse alcohol has been steered in that direction. The problems started around the end of the 80s with the creation of the 'night time economy' in towns and cities across the country, and all of the came about due to relaxations of the planning regulations at the time. High street shops were closing even then due to the creation of ever bigger shopping precincts, both in and out of town. Councils needed a way to keep the business rates coming in and were gulled into believing that turning empty furniture shops and electricity board showrooms into bars, cafes and restaurants would both bring in rate revenue and provide a civilised atmosphere to attract visitors. The ever helpful breweries and newly emergent pubcos had a rather less rosy image of the night time economy, realising that the most profit would come from youngsters with cash to spare, and we quickly ended up with whole streets of All Bar One's Walkabouts, Yateses, It's a Screams, Tiger Tigers and any number of others. So the councils got their business rates, the breweries got their profits, but the cost was town centres full of pissed-up youngsters causing havoc every weekend. The whole thing was - and is - highly visible. Cue TV shows like Binge Britain, censorious articles in the Daily Mail, much huffing and puffing about the 2003 Licensing Act and of course the health police jumping on the bandwagon.

As we all know, the amount of alcohol being consumed is currently falling. The problem is the way in which it is consumed, not the quantity. If your typical market town is a relaxed and civilised place to be on a Saturday night, just like its equivalents in France or Spain or Italy we wouldn't have a 'national drink problem' and the health police wouldn't have a bandwagon to ride on. Minimum pricing is just tinkering at the edges. Until the whole issue of how are towns are organised (and that involves a whole lot more that just vertical drinking barns) is addressed this isn't going away. But with so many powerful vested interests, supermarkets, retail developers as well as breweries and pubcos, none of whom are there for the benefit of society, that isn't going to happen any time soon.

ETA
09-03-2012, 06:58
I think the Daily Mash summarises the issue quite well, and though this item doesn't actually mention drinkers, I am sure we will be next.

http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/health/fat-people-and-smokers-pay-invisible-taxes-201203074981/