Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Leave Me and My Bottle of Wine Alone

So its not only the neds who down 20 Snakebites a night who are being targeted for government anti-drinking initiatives but the "middle class" drinkers whose bottle of Chardonnay a night habit who are being nannyed now.

First things first before I get accused of not caring about people with drink problems. Alcoholism is a disease and people who suffer need help not abuse, laughed at or most importantly - lectured about their habits. And it can hit all sections of society. When I was a student I worked in the cigarette/spirits kiosk of Safeway in a very working class area. The woman who came in from the suburbs every day for her litre bottle of Smirnoff was just as much an alcoholic as the old men who came in for their magnum of British sherry. She was just cleaner, better dressed and didn't drink sitting outside the shop. Apart from that there was little to distinguish them. And I felt sorry for them all, but kept selling them their booze because it really wasn't my business to interfere in their lives.

I think it is fine that there are suggested safe limits and that these are publicised. I think it's fine that alcohol bottle labels show how many units each bottle/glass contains. I think it is absolutely right and responsible that shop assistants/bar staff refuse to sell alcohol to people who are clearly hammered - and a little more of this would go a long way. But I am sick and tired of being told what I can and can't drink and how much I'm allowed to drink in a day.

I don't want the government to tell me how much I can drink and if I drink more than that it makes me at high risk or a dangerous drinker and I most certainly don't want the drinks companies to tell me (when advertising their overpriced products) to "drink responsibly". Please - if everyone drank responsibly the profits would plummet - don't be politically correct hypocrites and tell me that you don't want me to buy as much of your product as possible.

The government really has to learn to let us make our own choices and if those are the wrong choices then we have to pay the consequences but don't try to insist that government targets are the best way of running the lifes of individuals. They never are.

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