Last orders in Scotland

June 16, 2008 at 8:40 pm | Posted in British Politics, Drugs | Leave a comment
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Well, this proposal will be bad news for a lot of people: teenagers who like to wash down their Turkey Twizzlers with a bottle of White Lightning (an approprate choice, if you ask me), students who like to mimmick the Notting Hill set by throwing ‘fabulous’ house parties and anyone else who thinks the state already has too much of a say in what we’re allowed to eat and drink, where we’re allowed to congregate and how we choose to spend our free time. But at least Scotland’s hard-up publicans will smile at the idea that all those wealthy students in Glasgow & Ediburgh who’ll be banned from buying wine at the local Threshers will now be forced out of their bedsits and into the loving arms of their nearest boozer. It’s about time our landlords had something to celebrate!

Anyway, Rowenna Davis‘ article against the idea doesn’t say much we didn’t already suspect, but it’s a useful primer of the case against and a reminder that looking at the reasons why kids are getting hammered and then formulating strategies to deal with it would be a far more positive use of our money. What surprised me however is that she doesn’t take her argument to what seems the logical conclusion:

Survey after survey has shown that binge drinking is strongly correlated with a family history of substance abuse, and a record of depression and anxiety (see page 12). Those who have taken the time to ask young people themselves why they are misusing alcohol have found that they drink because they are trying to escape the pressures of everyday life, alleviate boredom or build their confidence in social situations. We need to offer better ways for our young people to solve these problems. This requires understanding alcohol consumption, not banning it. (Emphasis mine)

Exactly, and those pressures won’t disappear by making alcohol harder to obtain. Kids are economic agents as much as any of us; if they’re so driven to get hammered on an evening, they’re going to opt for the easiest, cheapest way of doing it. At the moment the annihilator-of-choice is cut-price booze, but make it a lot harder/more expensive to get hold of and they’ll just look for another way of getting wasted. God knows there are enough drugs out there to do the job.

Photo: an off-license in Soho taken by Flickr user davepattern (Creative Commons)

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