Posted by: Through The K Hole27 August 2012
The introduction of minimal pricing for alcohol is an attempt to nudge Britain’s drinking culture in the right direction. But is it enough? And is it too early for the medical profession to breathe a sigh of relief?
One expert says: 'Alcohol abuse is endemic, it’s etched into the very grain of British culture. We’ve known for some time that binge drinking causes untold social harm and takes many forms; street crime, violence, road traffic accidents and up to 17 million working days lost each year. But if we’re honest about it…booze is fab! I got pissed up last weekend at a mate’s barbecue and it was mental. I’ve never seen a shed catch fire so quickly and I laughed so hard I weed my pants.'
The government’s recommendations on minimal pricing are based on detailed modelling by specialists at the School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR) at Sheffield University. They looked at the effects of pricing on alcohol-related illness and economic productivity.
However, a senior industry expert comments: 'Let’s get one thing absolutely clear, this isn’t about your health! No-one gives a flying f*ck about your pathetic liver or your weird yellow eyes! By forcing up the price of cheap cider, lager and own brand vodka to 45p a unit the government could generate £103m in extra income. I could repeat that but I can’t be arsed.'
But could the government’s measures really be enough to prevent alcohol dependency?
Reaction was sought from Gary, a part-time plasterer: 'It’s often been said that we live in a Boozeocracy, well it hasn’t, I just made that up but you get my point. In order to feel part of this binge drinking culture I down ten litres of cider on a Saturday until I pass out and poo myself in my sleep. Sticking a few quid on the price of my weekly shop isn’t really going to make much difference, but it does mean I’ll have to start shopping around for cheaper pants.'
As the industry led quarrelling continues, Britain can be found slumped over the toilet of life in its knickers, with boozy breath, a bad hangover and yesterday's Biryani all over its shoes.
Dr Kevin Hinkley is a GP in Aberdeen