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Wednesday, 13 March 2013

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Were those green shoots I saw on TV this morning? The Plonker in charge about to execute a 180 degree hand-brake turn in the ship of state. By giving up on his idea of increasing Tesco's profits by forcing up the price of booze. Then there was the news from over the Atlantic. The Nanny in charge of New York has his plan to make everyone by two soda drinks instead of one slapped down by a judge. Who knows what comes next. Smoking in pubs back?

Hmm.

I think what's actually happened is that someone has had a word in the Prime Ministerial ear and pointed out that minimum pricing is illegal under European Law, and yes, thanks to the Lisbon treaty amongst others, European Law IS superior to ours, and yes he WOULD lose when the drinks industry takes the case to the ECJ, so he's decided to bail out before it gets too messy.

But you won't hear him admitting this, of course.

Another half-though-through mess.

His mates up in Edinburgh have a law all ready to go - but they have had to put it on hold awaiting a challenge in the courts. Perhaps he doesn't read the papers like wat I do!

Hmm? Difficult one but in suggesting charging for services aren't you doing exactly what the sundry 'prodnoses' are doing, dictating others choices and behaviours based on your opinions?

Inviting charges for behaviour such as this would inevitably result in other non-PC activities (smokers - oh wait we already are!, fast food eaters, anyone deemed 'right of centre', bloggers who don't follow the party line, etc.) being charged extra would it not? This would lead to the (probably necessary) collapse of the NHS and set a precedent (and not the kind where those who use the vast majority of the service ie. women, pay more, or one where those that have never contributed, immigrants/ never-worked benefit recipients/etc. get 'the cold shoulder' either).

I don't think it's the publicans or the police' fault either. I occasionally (well OK every night I can afford it) imbibe 'too much' Etoh (about two pints, since I'm a 'real man' with years of practice) but I have (so far) never committed a crime (and D & D is still a crime) following an extended quaffing session (Note to Andra, being of the female persuasion and thus only allowed a 'small sherry' whilst sitting in the corner with all the other 'Sheilas - 'Quaffing' is where a man drinks 'raucously' and 'enthusiastically' whilst spilling most of 'the amber nectar' down his, or anyone within a ten feet diameters, shirt/trousers. Raucous, enthusiastic drinking without the spilling is simply called 'being a medical student/rugby player/Australian away from home') although I have been known to serenade any available passer-by/police person/pigeon or lamppost (a selection of popular songs from the 50's to the 90's with accompanying 'choreographed movement' [since the term dancing doesn't even come close to what I do], and a 'selection of amusing gestures' if you must know) but I tend to do that when sober too . The issue is the riseable sentences passed for 'Actual' crimes committed by a tiny minority, numbers of which are inflated and 'massaged' to support the views of whichever group of 'bansturbators' are following their credo of 'someone somewhere is enjoying themselves in away we don't, don't like, and think we can make some political capital/cash out of exploiting'.

The publicans sell a legal product to 'adults', is it then their responsibility when a minority then act criminally/stupidly/without consideration, something they probably do when sober too? Are we all to be punished for this minorities actions? Is 'collective punishment' to be the knee-jerk reaction as always? The police arrest those who commit crimes and 'have a word with' those acting 'unwisely' (although I think the local sergeant who called my rendition of Michael Bubles - 'I just haven't met you yet', with a selection of accompanying tasteful gyrations, a 'crime against humanity' was being a bit unfair - everyone's a critic).

The issue then becomes, what does it cost the perpetrator? They rarely get a 'night in the cells', as we haven't either got enough of them or the officers taken off the street for an hour at a time doing paperwork, and should they go to court they are either 'let off', given 'community orders' which they ignore, or a minuscule 'fine', usually less than what they spend on booze on one night, assuming it's they and not us, through benefits, who pay it. I won't even mention the 'stigma of disgrace' which hasn't existed in 'modern Britain' for a long time. It costs them nothing.

Oh, and actually, despite what you may read/hear from pressure groups, the MSM, and politicians (or did I just repeat myself, the last two being nothing more than sock puppets) alcohol consumption in this country has been steadily falling for decades (http://dickpuddlecote.blogspot.co.uk/ has links to most of the factual studies, as well as some excellent sarcasm).

Minimum pricing was, is, and always will be about 'the new puritans' giving the politicians yet another way to try and tax us even more, and nothing else. It, and all the other 'initiatives' have never had anything to do with 'health' or 'society' whatever their claims.

With regards to behaviour, I could bring up:

"An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life." Robert A. Heinlein

"A dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness. Bad manners. Lack of consideration for others in minor matters. A loss of politeness, of gentle manners, is more significant than is a riot..."
― Robert A. Heinlein

Was the collective punishment for the actions of two mad men the beginning of the end here? Or am I looking back through 'rose tinted spectacles'?

I smells CONSPIRACY!

Worse - from the way our host is talking bouts "levying fines and barring the gates of joints for periods" I've the uncomfortable suspicion (were I to venture over) he'd have even me calling the bondsman to Please, could you come get me outta the slammer?

Say it ain't so Duffers!

Able?

"(Note to Andra, being of the female persuasion and thus only allowed a 'small sherry' whilst sitting in the corner ... A "small sherry" you say? Ask Andra to describe what she was doing in the back of a police van not so long ago.

But I mentioned CONSPIRACY! you'll have noted - and why would JK think that?

http://www.theatlanticwire.com/global/2013/03/us-ambassador-politely-asks-un-colleagues-stop-showing-drunk-meetings/62750/

"getting out of bed in the morning"

Don't try to tell me that one's not dangerous. I caught a cold last week after doing just that. Now I do a risk assessment first.

David?

I realize [I guess] you all've "secret balloting" also - but I'm thinking (I know) ... anyways, we all realize you voted Gordon Brown to be piled atop Piers. I'm figuring too, ya'll Brits just did what you did to spite us.

I suppose my question is [being a reader of Anna Raccoon] why in the heck ya'll decided to get us all screwed together?

Even Andra I don't think, would bestow a clusterfuck on anybody.

Able you are missing, or perhaps staggering around, my point. Being D&D is a crime. If a pub/club owner sells alcohol for profit to those who are obviously on their way to being D&D that makes him an accessory. It also makes him an irresponsible member of society because he ensures that his drunken customers are cleared out of his premises (whilst he counts his profits) and on to *our* streets where they then cause damage, engage in affray, make the streets impassable for non-drunk people, use up huge amounts of police time and those that end up in A&E put extra costs on the NHS (ie, extra security guards on duty on Fri/Sat nights) as well as making A&Es a nightmare for genuinely sick people.

Town and city centres are now virtually 'no go areas' for the elderly or the infirm on Fri/Sat nights whilst the pub/club owners make small fortunes. They are *licensed* to sell alcohol and if they abuse their licence conditions they should pay. Equally, no one forces people to get drunk and so if they present themselves at an A&E, or more likely are driven there in style by an ambulance crew, in a drunken state, they should pay for the extra costs they have caused.

Raising prices on alcohol punishes the very many who use it wisely, my idea punishes those who profit from it and those who abuse it.

DD
I understand, but perhaps waffled excessively, clarity is not one of my talents.

What you propose is that a publican selling a legal product is required to act as a pseudo parent/police officer for his customers. It will be enforced to extremes since the publican faces loss of livelihood if you, after half a shandy, do something stupid, or hurt yourself. (exactly the same effect causing the paranoia of health and safety in work places due to fear of legal costs. Then there's the aspect of how to judge a persons sobriety - breathalysers in pubs before you can buy a drink?).

In certain establishments in the US I have witnessed customers refused drinks by bar-staff because they felt the customer had 'had enough' (two bottles of weak American lager being seen as the binge drinking excess of an alcoholic - seriously!). Another example from across the pond is the multiple court cases taken out against manufacturers (guns/cars/etc.) whose products were used by someone to commit a crime, entirely forgetting the millions of customers who do not do so. The person committing the crime is at fault, not a manufacturer or retailer (or an inanimate object).

I suspect the rise in this situation is at least partly due to changes in planning (concentrating all the pubs/clubs together), the development of 'youth pubs/clubs', etc, and the total lack of any serious consequences (in common with most other crimes and negative behaviours nowadays).

I judge the situation on my own perspective. I want to be able to buy a drink without someone 'judging' whether I should be 'allowed' it. I temper both the amount and my behaviour because I face significant personal and professional consequences if I do not. Also, as someone who deals with alcohol related problems on a daily basis, I can state, in common with most other crimes, the problems are created by a smallish group of hardcore re-offenders and the rest? Their victims. (A local police inspector estimates that over 80% of the crime in my city of 150,000 is committed by 34 people. Similarly I estimate most alcohol related A&E visits here involve the results of perhaps 2 or 3 hundred, as either the patient or the cause of said patients visit. Deal with these and the issues could be reduced?)

I don't disagree, it's just my innate cynicism leaking out in assuming the unintended consequences will outweigh any benefits of such a policy, especially since 'mission creep', 'precedent', 'the only people facing real consequences are not the ones committing the crimes' (I do disagree on the accessory point), and 'those committing the crimes will use such a policy to blame the publican for every crime they commit - It wasn't me Yer Honour, It was that horrible landlord letting me get too drunk'.

I honestly have no idea how to solve the problem though, but tend more towards the draconian punishments for those committing the crimes (and drink being seen as a negative rather than the excuse it is seen as now).

There is only one solution to our impasse, Able, and that is for us to discuss the matter like gentlemen in my local Saloon Bar and as you have had the temerity to disagree with me, you can buy the drinks!

An excellent idea, Sir, and mines a large one! (and I'd like a large drink too - badoom-tish).

Oh God, with jokes like that you'll go down a treat in my local!

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