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03-09-2010, 10:10
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I usually don't tackle problem drinking on this blog, as others such as Tyson and Curmudgeon do it so much better, but I will give it a go for once. It seems to me that our politicians are getting extremely muddled on alcohol. Did I say "getting?" Of course I should be saying they "have got", or if I was American, "have gotten" extremely confused.

As Tyson (http://tinyurl.com/24vnvj8)points out in his blog, minimum pricing isn't the answer to Britain's alcohol problem, if problem there be. From my point of view, reducing overall consumption might well be though. So what do we hear today? We hear from the British Beer and Pub Association that alcohol consumption in 2009 saw the sharpest year-on-year decline since 1948. The 6% drop was the fourth annual decline in five years.

Despite our alleged propensity to drink too much, we consume less than the EU average and 13% less alcohol than in 2004. So the continual banging on about over indulgence is actually having the desired effect. We are, as a whole, drinking less every year and repeating our drinking less year on year. If you like to put it another way, the messages are getting through. This sits rather oddly with minimum pricing which will not affect the behaviour of those with a problem. The general trend is down, so maybe those that like to tax the poor out of a much needed drink, might like to turn their attentions on those that are actually causing themselves harm?

That of course would mean looking at ways to tackle the actual problem rather than tar all drinkers with the same brush. It would mean looking a lot more closely at a lot of very complex issues, to which there is unlikely to be a simple answer. Fat chance of doing that. That's too difficult. Better simply to jack the price up for everyone and put windfall profits into the big supermarkets, who some would say, are guilty of causing much of the availability of cut price drink and therefore the problem, in the first place. From the pub goer's point of view, this is a superficially attractive solution, but then again, I believe the Trojan Horse was a bit of a looker too. Don't be fooled. This is thin end of the wedge stuff.

An interesting side snippet; in 2009, the UK ale market increased its market share of all beers for the first time since the 1960s. Hooray!https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/8629758183547510158-7998524247389930818?l=tandlemanbeerblog.blogspot.c om

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