We in the UK like a tipple. Everyone knows that. And by tipple I mean, ‘getting smashed, starting a fight and vomiting on the street’. It seems to be in our veins. Or at least a bloody great amount of alcohol does.
To try to end this behaviour (and the vast amounts being spent by the NHS on alcohol related illnesses) MP’s have called for a change in government policy to combat binge drinking. They want to introduce minimum prices per units of alcohol and a rise in duty on spirits.
There are two factions at war here. The first are health professionals who estimate alcohol abuse in England and Wales kills 40,000 people each year. They want people to stop drinking and become more healthy.
On the other side is the drink industry who believe that alcohol abusers should be penalised rather than society as a whole. And gosh darnit, I feel dirty saying it, but I have to side with the large evil corporations. Their motivations are obviously greed; a rise in duty would hit their sales (exactly the MP’s intent), but through this greed they have actually stumbled upon a vital argument.
You cannot punish sensible law abiding citizens for the abuse carried out by others. If it is possible for an act to be conducted sensibly and safely, then it should be legal and the government should not be involved. If action is to be taken, it should be directed at those who are irresponsible. If alcohol misuse is too costly for the NHS, then it is more ethically acceptable to reform the NHS than simply punish every drinker in the UK. If drink fuelled crime is an issue, then you need to clamp down on the crimes being committed, not the alcohol that happens to be in their system. If a person can drink and NOT commit crimes, then those who do cannot blame it on the booze.
Another suggestion. How about we legalise Cannabis, Coca, Opium and Ecstasy? All four are far less harmful than alcohol and lead to far better behaviours whilst intoxicated. Revenue would still be generated for the taxpayer, whilst savings would be made for the NHS and Justice system. Think about it, just don’t let the Daily Mail whisper nonsense in your ear as you do so.
After meeting with Alan Johnson, three more members of the ACMD (Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs ) have resigned: Dr Campbell, Dr John Marsden, and Ian Ragan. The reason for these further departures is the lack of respect given to the scientific community by the government. They claim that the government ignored their advice to keep Cannabis class C and instead upgraded it for – and this may shock you – political reasons! Yes, that’s right. The government was simply trying to grab a few easy votes!
Ok, maybe that’s not shocking, and in fact it’s obvious, but if you are a respected member of the scientific community, it’s a bit bloody embarrassing to look like you’re a part of such nonsense.
The question that needs to be asked is, why has Alan Johnson mishandled this so badly? The only possible answer I can fathom is that he must secretly be pro-legalisation, and is trying to reveal our society for the hypocritical druggy nation it is. The other option – that our home secretary is in fact a grossly incompetent nitwit (and a coward to boot) – is rather too grim to contemplate.
Once again drugs have become the hot-topic, with scientists being put in the firing line for politicians and journalists to make an easy killing and rouse their rabid followers in jubilant screams of blood-thirsty ecstasy.
Professor David Nutt was the first to go, sacked for speaking the truth about the dangers of illegal drugs vs legal ones. One particular comment that caused him to be targeted was claiming that ‘taking ecstasy was no more dangerous than riding a horse’. Of course this led to the Daily Mail Taliban rushing in to condemn such a claim. ‘He is trivialising the deaths of victims of drug abuse’ they babble incoherently, gnawing at their collars and pulling their burqas close. What these zealots fail to see is that it is not trivialising to compare one statistic to another. If anything, it is they who are belittling deaths, but not of those who perish from the extremely rare reaction to E but those who die from horse riding accidents. Does the Daily Mail not think these are regrettable deaths? No, clearly they think a horse riding accident is a trivial laughable thing, and those related to the deceased deserve no sympathy at all.
Since the removal of Professor Nutt two more members of the council have resigned in support. I salute them and hope more follow suit. The government has for too long ignored scientific evidence and instead chased ‘tough’ headlines in the tabloid press. It is ignorant, cowardly and the actions of a theocracy rather than a supposed rational liberal democratic government.