I was watching the news today and the Health Secretary of our wonderful government is proposing to increase the tax on alcoholic drinks, particularly alcopops, to discourage teenage binge drinking. Of course, the BMA are ecstatic about it as well, as it will reduce the number of casualties on Friday and Saturday nights due to drinking.
Here's a thought for them: It will not work! Irrespective of how much the drinks cost, teenagers will find a way to get the money. It may be working longer hours at their part-time job as they try to fund themselves through University, beating up old ladies or whatever. They want the drink, and they will get it. Sadly the nanny state cannot allow anyone to think and make decisions for themselves and Gordon Brown does not need a second invitation to raise taxes further, so it's I guess it is pretty much certain that the change will go ahead.
If the government were genuinely interested in the health and welfare of young drinkers, rather than taxing them, it would be better to spend more money on proper prevention. An increased police presence on foot at night would do a lot to calm people down, and if special constables are used, their costs are substantially less. Better education of drinkers can do a lot to reduce the alcohol consumption and this should be done at schools, colleges and universities as well as on TV.
Finally, 24 hour licensing laws need to be relaxed. In Sydney, a large number of pubs are open 24 hours and it avoids the desire for everyone to drink as many beers/wines/alcopops as possible before closing time. People will drink slower and therefore there is less likelihood of fights occuring due to excessive drunkeness.
But no, it's easier to just to tax everyone.