14 December 2008

Binge Drinking

This seems to be a topic that is not going to disappear at any time soon. The bottom line is that certain organisations use this phenomenon to line their own pockets. There is always an ulterior motive! For example, Camra use it as part of their misguided strategy to lambast brewing giants who supposedly offer volume discounts to supermarkets. Volume discounts on brewing giant brands seemingly crowd out the demand for real ale, as well as the demand for such beers in real ale public houses. So it is not deemed to be in the interests of Camra, at least not to their investment club shareprices. Of course, these chaps usually ignore discounts on real ale by the same supermarket; or that brewing giants may even provide real ale products. Instead, Camra present an unrealistic and fragile image of the microbrewery and the pub for that matter. This is an aside, your stereotypical binge drinker only drinks beverages from the brewing giant - how convenient? I guess there is no such thing as a disorderly real ale drinker.

Let us hark back, the answer to binge drinking is simple; there is nothing wrong with drinking per se. Anyone stupid enough to risk their physical health is entitled to binge drink. The UK still enjoys a little freedom. Again, UK citizens are entitled to healthcare (free on the point of entry). I do not like the idea of funding people who have become alcoholically intoxicated but that choice is not mine to make. I can imagine that these same people may object to certain of my behaviours. However, I cannot assess the economic (or social) cost of these to people I do not know.

On the subject of social cost, binge drinking is putatively immoral. UK is pretty much a puritanical state. Many behaviours are deemed to be immoral here. However, the war in Iraq is on the average supposedly acceptable. It is difficult to discern the comedy of the Anglo-Saxon from his reason at times.

Where does the issue really lie? If someone becomes intoxicated then it is a matter of those who enforce law and order to do their job. Fines to disorderly people can be a sufficient deterant. The idea of setting minimum prices for alcohol sales in supermarkets is silly. Disorderly behaviour is a matter for the police and law courts, not successful retailers.

No comments: