I ask because they appear to be staggering about all over the place on the subject of alcohol pricing. That they are even considering the laying down of minimum pricing for booze is an indication that at the very least they have all lunched 'not wisely but too well'! Apparently they have fallen for the weepy line put about by sundry pokenoses that we must all be protected from the evils of acohol - along with smoking, eating, getting out of bed in the morning and anything else these busybodies can dream up as a hazard. Of course, the sight, sound and smell of our very own yobs and yobettes staggering out of pubs and clubs, vomiting profusely in all directions whilst directing a stream of abuse at everyone in earshot, is not one of which we, as a nation, can be very proud. For some, but by no means all, there may be longterm health considerations but that is their business not the government's. Of course, given that we are all enforced contributors to the Nationalised Health Industry, the cost of dealing with these weekend drunks is a factor but the answer is simple and, unlike the government's 'plan'(?) does not penalise those who do not misuse alcohol.
First, anyone who turns up drunk at an A&E should be charged a fee for any service they receive. Equally, any drunk who spends a night in the cells should be charged for the B&B service in addition to any fine they might receive from the magistrate. But more effective than any of that, the authorities should turn their attention to the people making money out of getting people drunk - the pub and club owners. They are, after all, licenced to sell alcohol and if they are obviously breaching their licence conditions by turfing out dozens of drunks onto the streets they should have their licences curtailed, or withdrawn if they are constant offenders. Closing down your local High Street pub/club for one weekend would concentrate the publican's mind wonderfully. The prospect of being closed down for a month would do even better. Suddenly the landlord/club owner would watch his customers very closely and refuse to serve anyone looking legless. This, of course, would mean that he would have to raise the price of his drinks in order to maintain his profits and that, in turn, would slow down the drinking.
As it stands, every weekend we have veritable battalions of police standing around (at huge expense) outside city centre pubs and clubs doing nothing much else except picking up the human detritus that falls out of them. Why don't they simply film the results and pass them on to the local licencing authority for appropriate action? And, yes, thank you for asking, I am indeed prepared to take over as prime minister . . . er, you did ask, didn't you?