Monday, 16 March 2009

Alcohol, Minimum Prices and Liberalism

Nobody calling themselves a liberal, as I do, can support a minimum price on alcohol to effect social engineering. Sure, come down on those that commit crimes whilst drunk like a ton of bricks, but to penalise non-problem drinkers who like cheap booze is wrong.

The example of France is often held out as an example of where cheap alcohol causes fewer social problems; it's no worse an example for being often repeated though.

The simple fact is that there is a social issue with regard to excessive drinking which affects England but not France. This is a matter for the education system and families. By allowing parents to abrogate their responsibility for their children to a state that is less a safety net than a SWAT team of nannies, and by failing to confront issues of right and wrong, good behaviour and bad behaviour in schools, successive Governments have created an alcohol problem in this country.

Increasing tax is not the way to sort it out. It may treat some of the symptoms. It will never be the cure.

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