Order! order! order me a responsible drink

The debate in parliament this week about alcohol put the focus on the usual areas of concern but I feel that those doing the debating will be under the illusion that the vast majority population will drink for the same reasons that they do, but they do not. Many of the population use alcohol to medicate their lives for reasons that they themselves do not understand, and nor do their MP’s.

The MP’s are all employed; many of those that they represent are not. The MP’s are all doing their job of choice; many of those that they represent are not, they are doing what they can get. The MP’s are well paid, enjoy good benefits and get better than average holidays. Many of those that they represent will be getting the minimum wage, no benefits and average holiday entitlements.

I would suggest that the working life on an MP cannot be considered as comparable to the vast majority of the working population of the UK.

Perhaps this is part of the reason that MP’s continually promote the message that the vast majority of the UK population are responsible drinkers and that they all drink in moderation, in the same way that our MP’s obviously do.

At the centre of most private parties you will find alcohol. Rarely in my experience does the host consider who is attending and work out how many units of alcohol that will be per person and then proceed to buy roughly that amount, and no more. At most of the private parties that I have attended my experience is that the majority have exceeded the unit guidelines, but that is viewed as perfectly ok providing that they don’t make a spectacle of themselves.

What I believe that our MP’s may be saying is that responsible drinking means that you can drink as much as you want providing that you do not end up requiring hospital treatment, vomit in public, assault someone, damaging property or appearing drunk in public.

Perhaps if our MP’s promoted the fact that drinking alcohol, no matter what the quantity, is actually recreational drug taking, and that it is always risky, we would get a clearer picture of what is really going on, and may respond differently to what they are trying to say to us about alcohol.

But the truth is not always a vote winner, and the phrase ‘drug addicted society’ is one our MP’s will use with extreme caution, and rightly so.

But what if it were true?

 

2 comments for “Order! order! order me a responsible drink

  1. 21 February, 2012 at 10:02

    Michael, many thanks for taking the time to comment. I agree that the alcohol industry is a major contributor to the British economy and not just in terms of tax revenues of about £14BN. Figures suggest that in the UK about 1.6M people are employed producing alcohol, £800M is spent advertising it and there are a number of additional factors such as packaging, distribution and retail reliant on the continued sale of alcohol. However if alcohol were discovered today, it would most probably be classified as illegal as it kills far more people that all the other classified illegal drugs combined. But with medical costs at an estimated £3BN in relation to alcohol it still looks ‘good’ on the balance sheet and certainly there is no easy answer. All politicians will find themselves in a difficult place on this one but telling it the way it is (recreational drug taking) rather than the way that they would like it to be (responsible drinking), would be a start in my view.

  2. Michael
    20 February, 2012 at 17:18

    An interesting comment, but it omits what is for MPs the most important aspect of alcohol consumption. It is the tax that HMRC garners from the sale of alcoholic drink. That tax goes to pay MPs salaries, amongst other things. Cut down alcohol consumption and you cut down tax revenues, so widening the government’s deficit, and making George Osborne’s task of balancing the budget even harder.

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