Behave yourself, or else

One of the questions that I am most frequently asked is;

‘Do you think that alcohol should be banned?’

My answer is always the same, and it is no. I do not feel that alcohol should be banned, and if people chose to drink alcohol within the law then that is none of my business. In my view I have no right to tell anybody what to do or how to behave, it is for them to decide and face the consequences of their actions. I believe that it is called ‘free will’.

The Daily Mail reports that Anne Widdecombe feels that binge drinkers should be ‘named and shamed’ and that they should be brought to court on a Monday with their pictures and details of their behaviour during the preceding weekend appearing in the newspapers. This would apparently be achieved by ‘blitzing’ town centres with additional Police ‘drafted in’ on a Friday and tacking ‘every single’ person drunk in A&E or incapable on the streets.

So, despite knowing absolutely nothing about why these people are ‘incapable’ and the specific  reasons that led them to become binge drinkers, we will be issuing a unilateral directive that if you are found to be drunk in public, then you will be very publicly punished and you will hang your head in shame.

It seems that it is a priority for some to get the world to look and feel how they want it to look and feel. In their world people will ‘drink responsibly’ (legal drug use), everyone will respond positively to alcohol, they will drink no more than the suggested guidelines, and if they don’t then steps will be taken to encourage them to ‘comply’.

Fear is clearly seen as a key motivator. Scaring people into behaving in a way that a given person or group of people feels that they ‘should’ often has other less obvious, but very serious consequences. They include depression, mental illness, low-self esteem, anxiety, suicide, and a general feeling of worthlessness, that they simply don’t fit into society.

The resulting costs to the NHS are massive and difficult to quantify, but the real cost is in human terms. Many in society will usually do their best and will often compromise, they will survive the week, tolerate the job they hate, the abusive relationships, live in fear of perpetual debt, loss of income and general insecurity, on one condition;

That they can get ‘off their face’ at the weekend

Now that really is a shame.

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