Now We\’ve Price Controls!

Wondrous: the descent into authoritarianism continues

Shops could be forced to raise the basic cost of alcoholic drinks by a third or more, as part of plans to make it harder for young people to access cheap alcohol.

Ministers at Westminster are considering plans similar to those already put forward in Scotland, to impose a minimum price for alcohol. Any legislation could see English supermarkets and corner shops ordered to charge a minimum of between 35p and 40p per unit.

The move is aimed at curbing the binge-drinking culture among teenagers, who according to recent figures drink more than youngsters in most other developed countries.

That some thousands, or even some tens of thousands, already break the law to purchase alcohol while underage isn\’s actually all that strong a justification for raising the price of alcohol for the milions of people who buy it legally and drink it without vomiting over the shopping centre.

What seems to have been missed as well is that minimum prices, well, they do just increase the profits of the supermarkets.

Is that really what these campaigners are after?

13 thoughts on “Now We\’ve Price Controls!”

  1. “Is that really what these campaigners are after?”

    It’s a mistake to think they are after anything in particular. There’s no game plan to this: it’s just a meme copying itself by infecting weak brains, using the media as a transmission mechanism.

    The puritan meme has a while to run yet before it burns out. Prepare for more stupid counter-productive authoritarian idiocy.

  2. Labour are doomed – every little crisis or imagined panic sparks a new, ever more authoritarian law, with no thought given to simply enforcing the ones they already have!

    Scotland has a barmy new policy proposal for seperate counters for alcohol, to force people to queue twice, as they do for cigarettes, in the hope this will discourage drinking.

    The fact that people still smoke seems to have escaped them…

  3. No Martin, that is what existing laws are for. The central case is against the nu-lab puritans abuse of the price system to impose their own codes of behaviour on a minority at the expense of the law abiding majority.

  4. Martin, you are wrong. Total taxes on booze far outweigh the costs that you list.

    Anyroad, if indeed The move is aimed at curbing the binge-drinking culture among teenagers then perhaps they could have variable pricing – add on 50% for under 21s, 25% for 22-30 year-olds and use the proceeds to scrap all taxes on booze sold to over-30s?

  5. “…might not moves such as this at least be worthy of consideration?”

    Maybe, but only (as has been pointed out) if the existing laws are proving inadequate in fact. Not because other factors are preventing those laws from being properly enforced.

    ” I can think of a good reason for such laws to pass – they might restore alcohol to its true status as a luxury, not a necessity.”

    Most people already find it so. Why should they be subject to increased prices because of a minority of scum who lack any self-control?

    “…a problem which, in many parts of the UK, makes a living hell of a lot of peoples’ lives?”

    Yes, well, CCTV cameras don’t do much to get drunk and disorderly people off the street. Why not go back to that old, tried and tested method of beat bobbies and proper punishment?

    “…perhaps they could have variable pricing – add on 50% for under 21s, 25% for 22-30 year-olds and use the proceeds to scrap all taxes on booze sold to over-30s?”

    That still penalises the sensible drinkers for the sake of the minority…and I say that as someone who’d benefit!

  6. Tim,

    Without wishing to smell the cordite of libertarian fundamentalism, the costs of underage drinking (policing, street-cleaning, increased insurance premia for damaged property, running jails and hospitals, etc) are more than the mere price of booze.

    While acknowledging that there is very little hope of ever changing Scotland’s binge-drinking culture, might not moves such as this at least be worthy of consideration? I can think of a good reason for such laws to pass – they might restore alcohol to its true status as a luxury, not a necessity. Might a cultural effect like that not justify trying to find a solution to a problem which, in many parts of the UK, makes a living hell of a lot of peoples’ lives?

  7. Will the supermarkets go the other way, and offer free gifts with booze – e.g. a bunch of bananas with every 4 pack – making the effective cost the same?

  8. There’s not much wrong with underage drinking. I did it. What’s wrong is underage congregating in huge gangs, attacking passers by, vomiting in shops, shouting, smashing windscreens, and generally being an utter pain in the arse. I didn’t do any of that, no matter how drunk I got, and nor did any of my friends. It is a fallacy that such behaviour is caused by alcohol. If it were, everyone would act like that when drunk. The fact that most of us don’t proves that it’s not the alcohol that’s the cause. Which is why attempts to control the problem by controlling alcohol will always fail.

  9. ” I can think of a good reason for such laws to pass – they might restore alcohol to its true status as a luxury, not a necessity.”

    At what point in British history has this been true?

  10. “It is a fallacy that such behaviour is caused by alcohol. If it were, everyone would act like that when drunk. The fact that most of us don’t proves that it’s not the alcohol that’s the cause.”

    Indeed. It’s just the easy target. After all, to go after the people themselves and their lack of self control or standards is just too judgemental….

  11. “…they might restore alcohol to its true status as a luxury, not a necessity.”

    ‘Even when water was not contaminated, it was scorned by the English because it was free. People drank water only if they could not afford to buy ale. “Would you believe it,” wrote César de Saussure, a Swiss visitor to England in the 1720s, “though water is to be had in abundance in London, and of fairly good quality, absolutely none is drunk? In this country … beer … is what everybody drinks when thirsty.” ‘

  12. Eva:

    Yes–I’ve long wondered about such things. I probably don’t drink a single glass of water in a year’s time–and haven’t for at least 30 years or more. An ounce or two every few days when I want to down a vitamin capsule or two. And I don’t dislike water–just haven’t any active desire to have any, my principal fluid intake being coffee. The same goes for milk, which I never have except, occasionally, on cereal. Whenever I drink either of these, I actually like them–just don’t have any motivation to drink either.

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