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Here come the temperance fanatics

In the form of my absolutely favourite wonk group, the ippr.

And here is the core of his idea: "Gerard argues that the UK has ‘lost the plot’ when it comes to regulating alcohol. He proposes raising the drinking age to 21 or requiring 18-year-olds to carry smart cards which record how much they have drunk each night and restrict under-21s to three units of alcohol".

Shall we investigate the flaws in this? If 16 year olds can easily pass as 18 year olds, then 18 year olds can easily pass as 21 year olds, can they not? Plus there would be the absurdity of adults who can vote, own shotguns, marry (Just imagine the wedding receptions for under 21s...) and do all sorts of other things suddenly being denied the right to choose their own damnation or otherwise. Doubtless the day such a law came into force, previous pub habitués would meekly acquiesce and instead stay at home boning up on antique tracts by the Fabians. Still, as the American experience shows, older people never ever buy alcohol for younger friends, so this will all work marvellously. As to smart cards, this is sinister beyond belief, quite apart from requiring all bars, off licences etc etc to have card readers.

Gerard warms to his theme:

"Increasing the number of prosecutions and the level of fines on retailers selling alcohol to minors".

Maybe 'we' could increase the number of prosecutions for cocaine smuggling, jaywalking and arson in naval dockyards, but for the small problem of the offences having to be committed before prosecutions can take place. Doubtless the tiresome efforts of councils to entrap retailers would be pursued with still more enthusiasm.

"Increasing taxes on drinks targeted at young people, such as alcopops; restricting advertising of drinks aimed at youngsters"

Jasper, old bean, the brewers, distillers and so forth are not allowed to target under 18s anyway, and there is an awfully large regulatory framework surrounding this. He also appears not to have noticed that alcopops are currently about as fashionable as spats with the youth of today. And what if the next big thing among younger drinkers is Madeira for example? Will there be an annual audit of the demographics of drinking by product?

"Allowing 16 and 17-year-olds limited amounts of alcohol in pubs, bars and restaurants when consumed with a full meal and accompanied by someone over 21".

Which was allowed prior to the 2003 Licensing Act.... Which, inter alia, makes it a criminal offence to sell liqueur chocolates to under 16s. I am *not* making this up.

Meanwhile, there is evidence that suggests Jasper likes a drop himself: "Waiters - always around but never oleaginous - are true enthusiasts, even able to answer a question about the sugar content of a demi-sec Taittinger Champagne". That comes from a restaurant review of the Fat Duck for the Telegraph earlier this year.

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Blogger james higham said... 11:16 am

Thanks, Mr. C, I'd completely forgotten I had a bottle of Chivas somewhere when the Glenfiddich ran out. I've just found it again tucked away in a cupboard.


Ugggh! Blended. Well, actually, it's not bad after the second.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 11:21 am

James - a pleasure to have been of service. I have a bit of a weakness for neat J&B for everyday drinking.  

Anonymous Verity said... 1:15 pm

"Increasing the number of prosecutions and the level of fines on retailers selling alcohol to minors".

How about we increase the number of prosecutions for preaching terrorism? How about we increase the number of deportations to around, oh, 100% say, for illegal immigrants? How about we increase the number of prosecutions for welfare cheats?

Just for starters. The problem with the socialists is, they have never been socialised into drinkers. They have always sat around, vacant eyed, silently smoking skunk.  

Blogger james higham said... 5:19 pm

Verity, you have a way with words.  

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