Saturday, June 09, 2007

Another move from the 'nanny state'

Crackdown on middle class wine drinkers

This article from the Times says that the government is trying to crack down on excessive drinking. Good on them! I do think there is a problem. I question their motives and the way they are going about it, though. A tax on wine is supposed to curb the drinking of those who sip wine at home, causing health issues, costing the NHS money. And that is just it. 'costing the NHS money.' One of the things you get with universal healthcare (and I love free healthcare, not looking forward to paying for insurance, doctor's visits, prescriptions once we get home) is a lot of laws that are supposed to keep the general public in better health. Hmmm, maybe they should be cracking down on chippies... ;)

It seems to me that a more effective approach would be to crack down on public intoxication. It is not illegal to be publically intoxicated. Last night as we were walking back late from the cinema we had to dodge drunks who were inclined to nearly fall on us as we walked by. Some looked sick and I was worried they would keel over and vomit on my shoes. I told Josh that we were probably one of the few out on the streets who weren't drunk or nearly drunk. And these weren't the drunks on the road that I would have pictured a couple of years ago (dirty, scruffy middle-aged men in flannel shirts and torn jeans, had their licence revoked, live with mom). These were professional 20- and 30-somethings, even teens (it is legal to drink at 16), men and women, a lot of women. There are a lot of fights when people are drunk. I saw a lot of tension between strangers as we walked by. There are very, very strict laws on the weapons you can carry - nothing, really (absolutely no guns allowed ever, no mace, no knives other than a wee non-locking pen knife), but people coming up with their own weapons to do combat with a fellow drunk. They are using broken beer and wine bottles to stab when they can't use a knife.

The article said that they are also going to require labels on bottles and signs in pubs stating the units of alcohol per glass because people are just not aware of how much alcohol is in a drink. I am sorry but people just need to be told that they need to take responsibility for their actions. I laugh at a mental picture of someone throwing up on the curb (there is a LOT of vomit to be dodged on a Saturday, Sunday, or even Monday morning...heck, ANY morning), cursing the pub for not telling them that the amount of alcohol they drank was going to make them drunk. Drinkers ought to be responsible for their own actions, listening to their own bodies and being aware of when they are getting to their limit. Your mind will tell you when you are having too much to keep all of your faculties.

I find that people are very responsible about drink-driving. There is zero tolerance so most people will plan ahead for this. They will walk home, call a taxi, or there will be one designated driver. But beyond this there needs to be more responsibility with how much one drinks and how it will effect their own health and their behaviour in public. I am tired of dodging vomit on the sidewalks.

Ok, that's me done bletherin'

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