There’s been a lot of debate on the BBC this morning on the report from the Home Affairs select committee calling for the banning of what is called “below-cost” selling of alcohol. The idea of government setting minimum prices for alcohol is one idea put forward by the Committee’s oleaginous chairman, Keith Vaz.

Now before we get caught up in the debate about whether it is the price of alcohol or the availability of alcohol which is leading to widespread reckless drinking, I notice that the BBC pays no attention whatsoever to the totalitarian instinct behind this report, namely that politicians will decide the price we pay for alcohol. What next – the government to set minimum pricing for food “in order to combat obesity”? What bothers me is that way in which government continues to intrude into our lives and the only issue the BBC wants to discuss is just how great this intrusion should be. The other aspect of this debate entirely missing from BBC coverage is that those who drink excessively and who commit crime get away with blue murder if and when they are apprehended and brought to court. Judicial weakness is as much of issue here as the price of a can of lager, but somehow that is never mentioned by the BBC. In framing the debate in this particular way, the BBC helps ease through the totalitarian instincts of our political class and that is enough to drive anyone to drink!

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26 Responses to HAPPY HOUR.

  1. mailman says:

    There is a huge problem with alcohol abuse in this country. All you have to do to find it is walk through any town high street to see the impact drunken yobs has.

    Im all for smashing these bastards as hard as possible (pref with their own bottle!:)

    What doesnt help are stunts where you can buy as much alcohol as you want for a tenner in pubs or clubs. So in that respect, since businesses have clearly shown an inability to control themselves, the Government has to step in.



  2. Susan Franklin says:

    MPs enjoy subsidised drinks in their Westminster bars and cafes at the taxpayers’ expense. One rule for the elite…


  3. Richard says:

    The problem stems from an increasing number of people with an Antisocial Personality Disorder (imo caused by the breakdown of the family unit, lack of personal responsibility, judicial weakness etc). Alcohol for these people, who account for roughly 2% of the population, increases their aggression levels. Inevitably they will be arrested for their conduct and appear in court. They should be given mandatory treatment and possibly banned from consuming alcohol. A non-functioning judicial system prevents that from ever happening or being enforced tho.


  4. Derek W. Buxton says:

    The totalitarian state is coming, bloody fast. There is no great increase in drunken violence, there is an increase in bad manners, violence and lack of respect for people and property. And guess who is to blame for that? Hain and Straw were noted for all three in their “student ” days and all backed by the party they now disgrace, or perhaps it is immpossible for it to fall into ever greater disgrace.


  5. Dave Clemo says:

    Ayn Rand was right. The only difference between a welfare state and a totalitarian state is a matter of time.

    Has anybody given thought as to WHY our young people seem intent on drinking themselves to death?
    It couldn’t be anything to do with the fact that the country is going down the tubes, the government and their cronies including the Beeb are systematically looting it, and all their jobs have been given to others could it?


  6. Iain says:

    “Has anybody given thought as to WHY our young people seem intent on drinking themselves to death?
    It couldn’t be anything to do with the fact that the country is going down the tubes..”

    I think the educashun system is partly responsible. I’ve met so many people who don’t know how to fill their time without getting wasted.


  7. Idiotboy says:

    Of course it is not the drinking which is the problem, it is the one-eyed jock’s growing tax black hole.

    The BBC, being the main organ of state (Labour) propaganda is fully aware of this but is pushing the government agenda in the best way it knows how, by diverting attention from the real issue, and especially avoiding any discussion of the egregious nature of this proposed NuLabour intrusion into people’s private lives.

    The propaganda stream will no doubt include closed circuit videos of unruly youths causing unrest on the streets after a night on the lash, maybe an interview or two with victims of drink fuelled violence (some with puppies), and a piece by the arch druid denouncing alcohol and praising the way muslim countries ban its use through the rigorous application of his beloved sharia law.

    Hopefully the proletariat will not suss that the whole thing has nothing to do with the price of a rack of Stella from your local Tesco, and will gratefully accept the need to pay substantially more for the same in the interests of public order.

    Even if it makes FA difference.

    What does it cost to get an empty Transit van over to the Calais hypermarket during off-peak times ?


  8. Original Robin says:


    Crime should be dealt properly with by the courts, not implementing a blanket punishment on all the people for the actions of a few.

    To me this looks like a” beneficial crisis “. Let something happen, and then increase the government control or tax to counter it.


  9. MarkE says:


    If price contributes to alcohol abuse, why does France (where alcohol is far cheaper than in the UK) not have more of a problem? I have family in Paris and in a more provincial area, and both confirm that displays of public, agressive, drunkenness are almost never French drinkers.

    Visiting a French friend a while ago he said he thought the UK was more likely to split than Belgium (this was when Belgium didn’t have a government), although he wasn’t sure how a country could split between the chav minority and the (relatively) civilised majority. My only objection was to wonder whether he was right about the majority/minority split.


  10. Boba Fett says:

    Yes David, we’re all well aware of your paranoia about the ‘Big Brother’ state, but what’s this got to do with the BBC? Oh yeah, nothing. There’s a surprise.

    On the other hand, clearly the article is merely a tool to attack the government:

    ‘Shadow home secretary Dominic Grieve said: “[The report] is a shocking indictment of Labour’s reckless approach to extended licensing’…

    Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne said: “This report is right to highlight how mistaken the government has been to try to run policing through Whitehall targets, which have proved an expensive disaster.”

    But wait, that can’t be right can it?

    As I write this, I happen to be listening to an episode of PM and a report about how young Muslim girls being sexually abused by a parent are not given support by their local imams, who tell them their religious duty is to keep quiet.

    Every time I visit this site, I’m reminded of the comic shop owner in the Simpsons. As a comet hurtles towards the Earth, he says ‘Oh God, I’ve wasted my life’.


  11. David Vance says:


    Yes, I fear you have wasted your life given your astronomical ignorance. Never mind, better luck next time.


  12. Verity says:

    Wasn’t it the socialists who thought bringing in 24-hour drinking would turn Britain into a café society?

    Or did they, malign as always, calculate that this would be the result? More unravelling of British civil life. I think they did. I absolutely hate them.


  13. Beness says:

    Vaz was asked about the possibility of raising the legal drinking age. Not going to help was the gist of the answer.

    More like we can’t tax them if they can’t drink. It’s more tax, that’s all they want. Stuff the social consequences.


  14. Hugh says:

    Boba Fett: “Every time I visit this site, I’m reminded of the comic shop owner in the Simpsons. As a comet hurtles towards the Earth, he says ‘Oh God, I’ve wasted my life'”

    Yes but if your frame of reference extended beyond the Simpsons, you’d know that it’s not just this site that thinks the Beeb has a problem with bias. In the past few weeks, the it’s been identified by, amongst others, the leader writers on the best selling tabloid and broadsheet and the leader of the opposition. It’s also been admitted by a number within the Beeb itself.

    You might disagree in general and with particular examples here (though personally I doubt you’re well enough informed to come to a considered judgement). However, portraying the idea of a liberal bias at the BBC as a bizarre conspiracy theory pushed only by cranks makes you look like an idiot.


  15. GCooper says:

    A properly functioning broadcaster would have made sure the repellent Keith Vaz had been investigated, exposed and hurled from office, several years ago.


  16. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Derek W. Buxton and MarkE have it right, I think. The potential for crass behavior was already there, the result of a breakdown in manners, respect, etc., all in the name of trying to get kids to have “self-esteem” and create some fantasy land.

    As Verity points out, the excuse to extend drinking hours was supposed to reduce a lot of this public drunken violence problem. As I recall, the real problem lay in everyone chugging down three pints at last orders, resulting in massive amounts of instantly hammered people out in the streets and on the subway platforms all at the same time. This, we were told, was the recipe for trouble. So they extended the drinking hours and now the drunken violent people are just spread out across the night, in greater numbers, and even more polluted. I won’t even speculate on how the smoking ban sent even more people out to drink on the streets.

    The receptor in our brains that likes alcohol was there long before the Sumerians invented beer. The only thing that will be reduced if Nanny State raises the price of alcohol (presumably they’d believe a significant raise was needed to have the desired psychological effect) is bar patronage, and in the sales of cases of crap lager.

    Once enough of these people have bankrupted themselves spending more money on booze than ever before, there will most likely be an increase in theft from stores and delivery trucks. Then you’ll have to deal with the even greater violence that accompanies this kind of crime and resulting black market. And then you’ll have to listen to Mark Easton tell you how there isn’t any problem.

    Legislating behavior never works, especially addictive behavior, which is what this is (both the alcohol and the social activity). They may as well try to pass a law banning groups of more than three people in pubs.

    But raising the price of alcohol sure sounds like a good idea, if one has a short memory and thinks that society is actually made up of toy soldiers that one can manipulate at will.

    I have to say, though, muddled as the BBC report is, I heartily approve of the idea to make people clean up after themselves if they foul the street. Fair grounds and amusement parks used to do that when I grew up, and it seemed to be a useful deterrent. Until, that is, somebody got parents thinking that nobody had the right to shame their children like that, as if the bad behavior wasn’t shameful but being punished was, somehow disconnecting the punishment from the bad behavior. This concept will sadly be familiar to everyone these days.


  17. AndrewSouthLondon says:

    Look guys I just copped a dozen bottles of Wolf Blass Estate Rose at Tesco’s marked down from £5.79 to £3:00 a bottle,below half price, less 5% discount for buying more than six bottles, plus Clubcard points, Easyjet points on the card, and 5p off a litre of petrol for my trouble.

    I mean its just not right! How am I supposed to resist that? Soon Tesco will be paying us to drink. I think the MPs are on to something. If we all had to shop at Belgravia wine merchants like them we’d halve our drinking.

    Anyway, I’m off to smash up a bus shelter.


  18. The Cattle Prod of Destiny says:

    Personnally I blame the weather. In sunnier climes it just doesn’t pay to get regularly wasted (because of the dehydration) and when it’s really hot it’s unpleasant to be wasted.

    So look at the geography. Sunnier climes a more relaxed attitude to drink, colder wetter ones it’s all one can do to tear oneself away form the pub’s roaring fire …

    Russia, Sweden, Germany, Poland, Holland, Ireland – all piss-head cultures.

    Well, they were when I lived there! Hic. 😉


  19. Anonymous says:

    Dave Clemo
    “Has anybody given thought as to WHY our young people seem intent on drinking themselves to death?
    It couldn’t be anything to do with the fact that the country is going down the tubes, the government and their cronies including the Beeb are systematically looting it, and all their jobs have been given to others could it?”

    YES,Plus our history and culture have been systematically trashed,our heroes denigrated,our nationhood destroyed all that is vile has been raised up.
    It began with uber liberals like Woy Jenkins,but what kind of example have people like Prezza set.


  20. Verity says:

    To The Cattle Prod of Destiny – You beat me to the punch! I was about to make a similar point. Certainly, the Germans drink as much, or more, than we do, and I’ve seen Dutch workmen going to work to dig up a road, let’s say and when they get to the site, the first thing they do is take a beer out of their rucksack and open it.

    I do think a lot of it is climate-oriented, but that said, it’s still not the government’s business how much people drink. Certainly, towns and cities should ticket the people who vomit on the pavement or make them clean it up themselves.

    But how much people drink is none of the government’s business … except, the NHS provides a controlling government with the ideal highway to total control of the citizenry – under the guise of “protecting the public purse”. (How about protecting the public purse by not treating immigrants until they’ve contributed for three years; and not treating illegal immigrants at all?)

    But you are not going to hear this thought given an airing on the BBC, which is in favour of government owned/taxpayer-supported-at-the- point-of-a-gun-organisations. There will be no discussion of the role NHS plays in controlling Britons on the BBC as long as it is a sister state agency – with the same controlling mindset.


  21. Janet in Sydney says:

    There does seem to be some truth in the assertion that sunnier climes lead to a relaxed attitude to drink. But Australia (where I live) is an exception! Binge-drinking is quite a problem here.

    That said, Australia seem ambivalent about alcohol. Alongside its famous booze culture I detect a rich vein of disapproval of drink, seen as something low class and not respectable.

    I suspect this may be the reason why there seem to be about ten times the number of pubs per head of the population in the UK than in Australia. And Aus (especially NSW) lacks Britain’s ‘posh’ pubs. Pubs seem to be viewed as places for working men and young people, not for middle-aged, middle class types like me.

    I miss the English country pubs.


  22. JohnA says:

    Cattle Prod

    You could be right. Peoplein northern Finland semed permanently drunk.


  23. MarkE says:


    I agree the Dutch and Germans enjoy a drink, but I have seldom seen the sort of public drunkenness and mindless behaviour we see so regularly here (The closest I ever saw was when I lived in Rotterdam, but Feynord v Ajax is extenuating circumstances).

    When I worked for a Scandinavian company the view was that one should never drink with a Norwegian because they only leave a bar in two cases; if they have drunk every last drop in the place and want to move on, or if they have passed out and you’re taking them home in a barrow! Despite this, I never saw them behaving as badly as some British drunks.

    Alcohol alone is not the problem.


  24. The Cattle Prod of Destiny says:

    MarkE | 11.11.08 – 9:11 am |
    Alcohol alone is not the problem.

    No, the other strand is personal discipline – something the PC brigade have been at pains to relieve everyone of.

    But will you hear these arguments on the BBC? Nope.


  25. Verity says:

    Mark and Cattle Prod – yes.


  26. Boba Fett says:

    I’m not ‘portraying the idea of a liberal bias at the BBC as a bizarre conspiracy theory pushed only by cranks’.

    I’m saying this site is about a ‘conspiracy theory pushed only by cranks’.

    Besides, I don’t pay for ‘the best selling tabloid and broadsheet’. That’s the argument of those well-informed like yourself.