Monday, 10 November 2008
Drunk and Disorderly
So we have another small scale parliamentary hooha about alcohol. It won't go anywhere, which s a pity since there is much to be learned about the generality of New Labour's politics by looking at them through the bottom of a glass.
Alcohol is the site where its' sense of free market libertarianism - "I've got the money to do this, so why can't I buy my pleasure all the time?" - meets its' instincts for social control in the form of ASBOs and so forth. The result is a contradictory policy mess and our town centres being given over to alcohol fueled mayhem on Friday and Saturday nights.
Booze- of which I am a great fan - is just too cheap. That's all. It's about a third of the real price I paid for it when I was 20 and likely to have been one of those cluttering up the city centre late on weekend nights. Up the price and most of the social control issues will disappear like Scotch Mist (weak pun intended).
It's really not that complicated: and drugs needn't be any more complicated either. Legalise them, police their purity and make 'em expensive. I really believe that this would 'work' in terms of decreasing the crime rate overall which is massively influenced by the illegality of drugs.
Mind you, it would also almost inevitably add to the health costs. But that's a more or less direct trade off we all know about.