David Cameron talks of getting rid of cheap drink and putting on a fixed higher price per unit. Basically a good idea and should reduce binge drinking?
Perhaps he and his advisers in this matter need to look further. Why do people drink to excess? Is there a reason behind this apparently stupid behaviour?
Undoubtedly this is, for many , a coping and relief mechanism.
Now if, as government says, ‘70% of UK people are happy’, why are more and more finding drink necessary? Do they find their happiness in the resulting oblivion; and what pressures are they trying to escape from?
It seems likely then that most people are far from happy. They are hounded by the bad news in the media, with it’s penchant for negative reporting. Lately some government action against media lies has been taken but these should be stopped completely – it is not a word game and a truthful media is essential.
The next stress is the distinct possibility of interest rates rising in an already hard financial situation and annoyance that the banks go free of any penalties when it was their irresponsible lending that suddenly brought on this hard situation.
We are ‘ all in it together’ but problems seem much bigger for the average person than they are for politicians and bankers.
So David et al’s plan to impose higher costs on alcohol are helpful; but as they must well know, far from the complete answer.
To move to a more full solution a strong influence must be taken over the banks. Reduced interest rates and mandatory controls must be applied with suitable rental purchase schemes offered to those in financial difficulties. The chance to carry on paying for their houses will help the banks business also. If, under this pressure, they leave the UK so be it. In fairness they must offer a helping hand help to clear up the situation they have certainly helped to create
Next a pragmatic effort to provide more jobs must be made; There are opportunities to do this e.g. Open up bio fuels green industries, reopen many of the closed coal mines and their support industries. Fund extra work in the building industry, start and help fund good apprenticeships. Start new car industries , even refurbishment projects.
All of this is not cheap but it will reduce benefits payments, help to start the economy moving and give jobs and self respect to those who are often forced to sit at home.
And last in my list of solutions , but first in importance, provide an inclusive disciplined education so those many who do not fit the present narrow template that educationalists accept as ‘good’, may move out of school prepared adequately for the difficult task of obtaining employment.
Until a more caring ‘giving approach’, encompassing many of the above ideas is taken there is little doubt the drinks culture will continue with all it’s accompanying social stresses and unease.