The topic for this week is the demon drink. Now don’t get me wrong those who know me will confirm that I like a drink as much as the next man.
Well that’s not entirely true as the ‘next man’ as I write this is my colleague Darren Halstead who is a big fan of real ale, and has been known to put quite a few away. Never on a school night though I hasten to add.
On a serious note, we have a culture in this country where drinking is socially acceptable, but the real concern is that many are involved in irresponsible drinking.
To illustrate this many young people go out with the sole intention of getting as wasted as they possibly can.
The extended licensing hours, and many of the offers that licensed premises promote seem to encourage this.
Many young people I represent tell me that they don’t go out until around midnight having firstly had a skinful of cheap booze at home with their mates.
Often when they arrive in town they’re already hammered and all types of antics follow.
The amount of alcohol consumed at home has risen dramatically in recent years. How many people do you know, myself included on occasions, who go home after a difficult day at work and pour themselves a glass of wine?
When I was a child it was only the wealthy who had alcohol in the house.
The only drink we had was at Christmas when my father would buy a tray of tinned bitter and my mother would be treated to a bottle of Advocat for the obligatory snowballs.
As a nation we now drink more alcohol than ever and innumerable problems follow.
Drunkenness often leads to crime. Drinking to excess can have serious health implications, both physical and mental, and the cost of dealing with these problems runs into many billions annually.
There are suggestions that tax on alcohol purchased from shops and supermarkets should be increased.
Not to deter people from buying it, but so that the revenue raised could go directly to those, such as hospitals and the police, who deal with the fallout.
I see the logic in that but whether it is politically palatable to voters remains to be seen.