Apparently anti-booze campaigners are going nuts over a new prospective chain of “Pound Pubs” set to open across Britain, with the flagship pub being opened in Atherton, Manchester.
Colin Shevells, director of Balance had this to say about the whole shebang: “Drink is already too affordable, too available and too heavily promoted. We know that problems are caused by it being too cheap. The PoundPub is just part of a much bigger problem. We need to wake up to the problems cheap alcohol is causing both in the short and long term.”
Meh. I lived in the Isle of Man for a while and they’ve had a pub there called “Quids Inn” for years – over ten years – where you pay a pound to get in and then loads of drinks are available for a pound. The Isle of Man enjoys a very low level of poverty and antisocial behaviour compared to the mainland UK; and residents have managed to partake responsibly enough of the low-priced alcohol available at Quids for over a decade without the town of Douglas imploding due to mad alcoholics going on boozy benders, leaving them incapable of being functional members of society, all because a pub was selling drinks for a pound.
The current anti-booze lobby pushes to stifle the free market in such a way that only well-heeled people can afford to be alcoholics. This is not about tackling the root causes of alcoholism, (as anyone with middle-class alcoholic family members can tell you – banning cheap alcohol won’t stop Aunty Trish and Uncle Ralf from necking two bottles of wine apiece per evening in front of BBC4) it is about making it as difficult as possible for poor alcoholics to be somewhat comfortable in their obvious misery. The current lobbyists are gunning for punishment: they want to punish people for being both poor and having the audacious temerity to have a chemical addiction, too.
Alcohol is legal, we already have age restrictions on its purchase, pricing it out of poor people’s pockets while keeping the choice available for middle and upper class people simply sends the message that poor people are the only social group, apart from children, who cannot be trusted to regulate their own intake responsibly.
On the other hand, without cheap booze to distract us on a weekend, perhaps the revolution (stop laughing) will come quicker.