According to the Guardian, a minimum price for alcoholic drinks is on the cards… and it might be more than 40 pence per unit!
The government claim it’s to tackle binge drinking. But you’d have to be pretty dense to swallow that one whole. Sure, there is a problem with some people “pre-loading” with a bottle of vodka or something before they hit the town. But these drinkers aren’t going to be affected by this minimum price. They’ll still be buying their Smirnoff or whatever. It’s the poor who will be really affected by this. It’s those on fixed incomes who buy the “budget booze” – and a 40p per unit minimum price will make the supermarkets’ cheapest vodka cost £11.20 a bottle. Not a problem for most folk, but a pretty drastic hike for those on fixed incomes – those who could really do with a drink after all the other crap that’s been thrown at them by our Con-Lib government.
Oh, and before anyone says this plan will help stop underage drinking – well duh! there’s already a way to stop that. It’s called enforce the laws we already have. In the UK it is illegal to sell booze to anyone under 18, and most places ask to see ID of any alcohol customer who looks under 25. Hitting poor adults in the pocket is no solution to the problem of children drinking.
Come on, Cameron, give us all a break! You want to take benefits away from the poor, now you want to make it impossible for them to even have a drink more than once a month. The figures being bandied about might seem small change to those who aren’t poor. But believe me, this will make a big difference to a lot of people!
It was UK health secretary Andrew Lansley’s idea, apparently. He has announced his intention over the next 5 years to reduce the number of smokers in Britain by a greater number than was reduced in the past 5 years. And he has identified cigarettes’ allegedly gaudy, inviting packaging as a chief reason why people take up the habit in the first place. He has also announced a “consultation” into the idea of banning cigarette displays entirely, so tobacco products will have to be sold from “under the counter”.
Obviously, Lansley is a massive tit. Plain packaging and discreet under-the-counter sales will make cigarettes seem very illicit… and we all know what teenagers in general think of illicit activities. I predict that these measures will not reduce the number of smokers at all. Maybe it’ll even increase the number of smokers. Which is, of course, no bad thing for a political party that counts amongst its members the very tobacco barons the government claims it wants to destroy.
The other day I was waiting in the queue for the tobacco counter at my local Sainsbury’s, and I was struck by the current packaging of cigarettes. Every single pack has emblazoned across its front in bold letters sentences like SMOKING KILLS and SMOKING WILL TURN YOUR UNBORN CHILD INTO A STUMP-HEADED MUTANT. If that hasn’t reduced the number of smokers by the “desired” amount, what in hell makes Lansley think his stupid idea will do any better? The answer, of course, is stupidity. And hypocrisy. We must never forget the hypocrisy factor when trying to figure out our Con-Dem government’s motives.
Incidentally, that same Guardian story says that 21.2% of adults in Britain are smokers. It’s a minority, for sure, but it’s one heck of a big minority. Who the hell do the government think they are, messing with more than 8 million people’s right to choose what they do? Plus the government makes a lot of money by taxing tobacco products. What are they going to do if we all stop smoking – increase the tax on road fuel (which, incidentally, is far more harmful to the general population’s health than a damn cigarette)? These pin-headed ministers really do need to think these things through…
Cigarette displays like this may soon be outlawed if the UK govt gets its way
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