This Could be Interesting

The Government\’s top doctor said England should follow Europe and America and ban teenage drivers from drinking any alcohol at all in order to prevent accidents.

Now it sounds as if such a ban should indeed help. Pass a law, everybody obeys it and Bob\’s your parental sibling of choice.

However, that little addition of "America" (rather than what was actually meant, Canada) provides us with a check. In the US, no one is allowed to drink under the age of 21. So, do they have a zero rate of teenage accidents involving alcohol?

Umm, no, they don\’t….so do they have a lower rate of such accidents?

I\’ve no idea and I\’m not going to pursue the numbers, but that is the way we should measure the value of these proposals. Does a ban on teenage drinking and driving actually stop all teenage drinking and driving….does it in fact reduce the rate at all? I wouldn\’t be surprised to find out that it doesn\’t.

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?

Lawmaking from the Hip

A bad weekend in France for drink driving deaths, so a Minister leaps to make suggestions:

"I am going to introduce a decree in cabinet under which all drink outlets that stay open till two in the morning will have compulsory electronic breath-tests, so that everyone can test his own situation as he leaves," Mr Borloo said yesterday.


Three young people were killed on Sunday on the A1 motorway north of Paris returning from a party in Belgium.

Not going to cure everything, is it?


“Cheap cigarettes are smuggled or fake and can contain five times more cadmium, 5.8 times more lead, 160 per cent more tar, 80 per cent more nicotine and 133 per cent more carbon monoxide.”

Produce 133% more CO I can get, but contain?

Owning a Pub

Having seen this trade close up and from the inside this makes sense to me:

It is Friday night in the village of Cookham Dean, Berkshire and, even though it is bitingly cold outside, the Jolly Farmer pub is full of people. The landlords, David and Laura Kelsey, are busy cooking in the kitchen, while the bar staff are pouring pints as if their lives depended on it. The people at the bar are chatting and laughing away. Everyone seems to know each other. "There\’s another pub in the village but we all come here," says one local. "The pub is owned by the village, so we have a vested interest in supporting it."

Twenty years ago, 60 villagers bought the Jolly Farmer, and they have owned it ever since. The village leases the pub to a landlord, who runs it day-to-day, and the result is a popular local that caters to what the villagers want. "There are certain requirements," says David Kelsey. "I can\’t play background music, and I can\’t have any gambling machines. I have to serve a variety of beers, and no one wants high-concept food. It\’s fine with me, though, because I knew this before I took it over.

"This pub was on the verge of being closed down," he continues. "No one came in here. It was really suffering. Now, that is true of many of the other local pubs round here."

That\’s all lovely, the community spirit thing, but I wager that the real reason this works is a great deal more simple.


As the article mentions, the average pub now costs £400,000. If you\’re a brewery that owns it, you want a rent on that. If you\’re an individual proprietor, then again, you want  a rent on that. However, if the villagers put up the money, say £6 k each, then while they are indeed shareholders, they\’re likely to think that having a well functioning pub is reward enough, perhaps not looking for a financial return on that cost.

And thus some, what, £30k to £60k is magicked out of the cost base of the pub. And given pub margins, that\’s one hell of a benefit: prices can be lower etc.

Some will say that this shows what a rip off capitalism itself is: but note that we haven\’t in fact got rid of the need for capital at all. All we\’ve done is shift the reward to those who provide it. From a financial return to the more direct one of having a decent place to have a pint.

If it\’s worth £6k to you to have that then go for it. If you can persuade enough of your fellows to make it work then good luck to you.

For rather than ours beiong a capitalist society we\’re much more importantly a free(ish) market one and we have a market in forms of ownership just as much as we do in anything else.

Brewery ownership? Sole proprietor? Customer co-ops? Workers\’ co-ops?

Hey, have fun and let us know how you get on.

Screamingly Stupid

They\’re insane:

Ministers are preparing to approve plans that would allow supermarkets to collude in alcohol price rises as part of efforts to stem Britain\’s binge drinking epidemic.

The new arrangements, which would be secured through amendments to licensing laws, will enable supermarkets to get around existing competition rules that impose hefty penalties for price collusion.

Back to this in a moment,. Look at this rather:

The price of alcohol in shops has halved in real terms in 20 years

Nope, not true. A flat, full on, out and out barefaced lie.

The cost of beer and wine has remained relatively stable, meaning in real terms it has got cheaper as income has increased.

Now that is true. It\’s the so called "affordability" of alcohol which has increased by 65% over the period, as calculated by the BMA report.

But what the BMA seem to be missing here is that this is the very point of this whole civilisation business. That as we work out how to do things better, as technology (in the very widest sense) gets better then we are able to create more out of the resources to hand. It\’s called getting richer. Incomes go up faster than prices of goods so we can all have more goods to enjoy with our incomes. It\’s the whole point of the damn enterprise… doesn\’t matter whether you\’re capitalist, socialist, fascist or communist,  while there may be differences in the effectiveness of each system at reaching the goal, the goal is the same: the proles getting richer.

Beef has increased in affordability, chicken, clothes, sneakers, computers, cars…just about everything except houses and taxes (both of which are controlled by government, of course) have increased in affordability over the past 20 years and as I say, this is the entire damn purpose of this society thing, to make it so.

That we live higher on the hog than did our parents and that our children may do so higher than we.

But back to the change in competition law. Utter, utter, stupidity. Supermarkets use alcohol sales and price cuts as loss leaders. That\’s actually what is being compained about in the first place. That they lose money on that to get people into the stores.

So we\’re going to ban them from doing that….or at least allow them to conspire amongst themselves to make sure that no one goes for a beggar they neighbour price cut?

All that will happen is that supermarket profits will rise; it\’s the inevitable effect of allowing such conspiracy.

So, the suggested solution to a free people exercising its will in getting blasted is that we should increase supermarket profits?

Genius, sheer bloody genius.

Can we have our country back when you morons have finished playing with it please?

A Little More Evidence

This binge drinking thing, this heavy consumption of alcohol:

French doctors warned last month that the country was beginning to adopt the British taste for heavy drinking, with young people fast developing an appetite for the copious consumption of alcohol.

Brittany has always been ahead of that trend, long holding a reputation as the region with the heaviest drinkers.

Might there be something tribal to it? Celts and Anglo Saxons bein more prone to blotting out the horrors of the world with booze? Brittany is the most celtic part of France, after all….

The Demon Booze

The number of alcohol-related hospital admissions has increased by almost a third in just two years as 24-hour drinking laws and the greater availability of cheap alcohol lead to increased consumption.

So people are doing as they wish, perhaps to their own detriment.

Based on data from the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, these admissions cost the NHS almost £90,000 a day – or more than £32 million a year.

Given that revenues from booze duty are in the billions of pounds a year, people are paying for the external effects of their actions.

The problem is what? Free people are, after all, free to decide how they want to kill themselves, are they not?

Soooo Nouveau Dahling

Something of a waste:

The cocktail consists of a large measure of Louis XII cognac, half a bottle of Cristal Rose champagne, some brown sugar, angostura bitters and a few flakes of 24-carat edible gold leaf.

You usually put white sugar into a champagne cocktail (for that is what this is) as brown will rather overpower the flavours. If people want to spend £35,000 on it well, good luck to them say I. But not only do you have the right to spend your money as you wish, you also have the duty to put up with what people think about you for your choices:

The drink will appeal to "the stupid segment of the super-rich", said the social commentator Peter York. "It is so gauche, so crashingly crass, that everyone else will see the buyers as barely literate, as one step up from a potato.

"It will be one of those things that unite both the middle class and the old rich in a belief that the super-rich come out of some kind of primeval ooze."