Wednesday 24 November 2010

The Mancunian Puritans.

It's snowing. Just a light dusting so far. It's not the snow that bothers me so much as the ice, but this year I have been steadily stockpiling salt (supermarket value range - although what exactly they can leave out of salt to make it cheaper is a mystery to me). Tesco last night had loads on the shelves, it seems few are bothering until it's time to panic. Last year there were weeks of no salt available anywhere, which is a real pain if, like me, you like a bit of salt with your dinner.

Anyway, it seems that even though the Scottish government has shelved plans for minimum alcohol pricing, Manchester councils are still going ahead. Via the Pub Curmudgeon, the Manchester Evening News is all for it. Strange, really. If nothing happens in the town centre at the weekend, what will the newspapers have to talk about on Monday morning?

The commenters aren't all for it. Some are, naturally, because alcohol is Evil and anyone who drinks any of it at all is Addicted and Insensible and Costs Them Money. There are some, otherwise sensible, objectors who are failing into the trap laid for them. They are coming out with the predictable "Why should we have to suffer? If it's happening here it should happen all over the country."

They are idiots. If Manchester succeed in this, then the Cameroid (who supports Manchester's actions because it won't affect the price of Bollinger) will use it as a lever. It's unfair to Mancunians that they suffer alone. Wicked smugglers are sneaking cheap booze over the border from Liverpool and Lancashire. It's a travesty, and can only be stopped by extending this minimum price all over the country. Yes, there's the trap and many of the commenters have already taken the bait.

Oh, but there's always one...

Drinking a pint isn't going to harm anyone else. Smoking a cigarette will harm others, not to mention stink my clothes out.

Any excuse, eh? Forget it, antismoker. This is antidrinker time.

People will throng the roads of Manchester to buy their booze - and probably do the rest of their shopping at the same time - 'over the border'. Prospective students will think twice about adding Manchester university to their list of options. Tourists will look elsewhere (although does anyone go to Manchester on holiday?). Conference organisers will reconsider. Shops will close, not just off-licences. Man with a Van will stock up and ride into town, selling at 45p a unit.

Anyone who can get a job in another town is likely to do so, leaving Manchester with only those who can't get a job in another town. I leave the inference there hanging, but businesses looking to set up a new premise are going to look at who's available for employment locally and well, I wouldn't set up there. I'd set up where all the bright people moved to.

Since pub prices are already above the minimum, and since those who tank up before going out will have stocked up elsewhere, the town centre chaos will not change at all. The troublemaking drunks will still be there and the courts will still pat them on the heads and express sympathy for their 'terrible childhoods' while doing nothing at all to dissuade them from being terrible adults.

Since people with large stocks in the house (from weekly booze runs) are actually likely to drink far more than they did when they only bought one bottle or a few cans, the 'cost to the NHS' will rocket. Minimum pricing won't solve anything but it has the potential to make a lot of things very much worse.

When it goes countrywide, Calais will be richer than Las Vegas. Import limits? We're in the EU, remember.

They might try prohibition but the US tried that. Remember Al Capone?


John B said...

I seriously think this whole alcohol debate has been a construct of the Behind the Scenes, Ways and Means, Control Committee (BtS,WaM,CC).

Britain became a bit dangerously independent minded after Thatcher's time.
So when they got her out ('90), and then the Con-lites, out ('97), Tony set about inheriting her legacy so he could trash it.
Well. Perhaps it was not his personally originated thinking, but it was the thinking of the BtS,WaM,CC.
Having set up as Mrs T-lite, he liberated a few things such as drinking hours, wherein you could now buy drink cheaply, and various other previously existing restriction, provoking a situation by over action that was fairly guaranteed to drive the historically freedom-deprived British off the edge.
The next move was, of course, simple.
Raise hands in horror at the vomit in the streets, degenerate behaviour, self destructive action, health destruction, costs to the NHS, in short all the usual horror stories.
Then the BtS,WaM,CC implemented the standard What Can We Do??!! (WCWD??!!)strategy by media blitzes, etc, in which the clamour for the removal of freedoms can be demanded in the age old name of "public good". Works every time.
And that is where we are at?

Stewart Cowan said...

John - problem; reaction; solution.

I hadn't thought about it in relation to 24 hr drinking, but it could well be.

Certainly, the Bush/Blair "war on terror" was to try to make us beg for our own enslavement in return for protection. Now that has extended to getting our private parts groped at airports.

Stewart Cowan said...

I meant to add this link - Problem Reaction Solution Explained

Bucko said...

I've also been stocking up on salt. I really hope we do have a harsh winter, otherwise I wont know what to do with it all.

Chief_Sceptic said...

Ahhh - Booze and Salt - my spare room is packed with both ! ...

2 cases of assorted liquor (bought over the 'errmmm' Swedish border) - lots of Norwegian 'Xmas Beer' (high strengh stuff) - 20 kg of Salt (astounded the local supermarket staff) ...

Oh, and some 5 m3 of firewood in my woodshed ...

Anonymous said...


" .... otherwise I wont know what to do with it all."

Flog it to Leggy to put on his chips - and I'll have some off yer, too! Yum!

Leg-iron said...

The great thing about salt and whisky is that they keep forever if properly stored.

You can never overstock with either.

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