Just a couple of heartfelt gripes to get them of my chest! In the last budget the chancellor put duty on alcohol that has mainly hit the responsible middle classes and used the excuse of binge drinking and under age drinking to try and appear socially responsible. If he really had tried to do something about the problem of excessive drinking by young people with some of the extra money he garnered I think most of us could have stomached it as a package. But to hide the need for extra revenue which he does need behind a few pious utterances makes ones blood boil!
The excessive booze consumed by binge drinkers and youngsters largely comes from supermarkets who use alcohol as a loss leader to attract people to spend money on other products priced properly. Though it is nice to have a cheap bottle of wine or can of beer cheaply at home the effects are far reaching. Pubs have become very expensive and no longer especially in rural areas provide a centre point for the community. When we grew up our local had people from all generations in it and you mixed and picked up social skills and went there to meet people. The presence of older people who you knew perhaps helped prevent the worst excesses! This community has been lost. Youngsters get together in groups on their own and the culture is to get wrecked sometimes before you have even gone out!
I feel the chancellor should have adopted the following measures. Prevent supermarkets selling booze as a loss leader. He would receive more revenue from duty and VAT and actually make binging alot more expensive. It would allow pubs and independent retailers to compete on a level playing field and create jobs. Secondly have a campaign a bit like the aids one years ago explaining the dangers of alcohol to young still maturing bodies. The reason that you cannot buy alcohol until you are 18 is not because you cannot vote! It is actually because the liver is capable of regenerating itself if you give it a chance when you are adult but does not when you are young. Alcohol cannot be processed properly and it will permanently damage the liver for your entire probably fore shortened life. Having this explained to me when I was a young teenager would have changed my habits especially accompanied by a few gory pictures of damaged livers. It would educate both teenagers and parents and though it would not stop everybody it could only help.
Sadly our government is shallow and only concerned with staying in power, never with doing the correct thing. All problems are shelved of onto future generations instead of risking anything that maybe difficult for the electorate to chew on. We are financially bankrupt after years of good times with nothing put by led by a weak people just obsessed with their own situation.
End of rant, at least I feel a little better! Must stress that these are purely personal views and anybody is welcome to disagree!
Tufton Arms Hotel