Should There be a Minimum Price for Alcohol? by Sean Gabb

Sean Gabb, Director of the Libertarian Alliance, speaking on BBC Radio 5 on the 1st March 2013.

The background to this discussion was a report from the Alcohol Health Alliance, calling for a minimum price of 50p per unit for alcohol, and various restrictions on the advertising and sale of alcohol.

Sean argues these points:

  • If enacted into law, this report would be a step on the road to prohibition of alcohol. The Alcohol Health Alliance is a coalition of groups mostly funded by the taxpayers that includes what, in more honest days, were openly prohibitionist campaigning bodies. See, for example, The Alliance House Foundation, originally called the UK Alliance for the Suppression of the Traffic in All Intoxicating Liquors. Give these people what they want this year, and they will not announce that the “problem” is solved, and they all resign from their taxpayer-funded jobs. Instead, they will be back next year, with more junk statistics, and calls for a higher minimum price, and for plain packaging and advertising bans. Their final goal is plainly the prohibition of alcohol, and this report is merely one step to that goal.
  • In the meantime, their minimum price will be an attack on the poor. Most middle class people can afford to drink as much as they like, and no likely increase in price will change this. But many poor people, especially the old, will be prevented from drinking. We have lived now with alcohol for eight or nine thousand years. We all know that drinking too much, too often, can have ill effects. But we also need to remember that alcohol makes us feel better. It makes company more enjoyable. It dulls moral and even physical pain. The world often does look a better place through the bottom of a glass. Anyone who wants to take this blessing away from the poor is best described as evil.
  • Turning to the claim that there are 1.2 million alcohol-related admission to hospital every year, this is a statistical fiction. It is constructed not by asking every person admitted how much he drinks, and whether he is there because of drink. Instead, if a non-drinker is admitted with a possible heart attack, that is recorded as about one third of an alcohol-related admission. If a non-drinker is admitted with hypothermia, that is recorded as 0.25 of an alcohol-related admission. Given this bizarre methodology, there is no possibility of knowing what the truth is. The methodology was adopted because it generates junk statistics that get the headlines.

22 responses to “Should There be a Minimum Price for Alcohol? by Sean Gabb

  1. By the way, I did this via Skype, using my USB microphone.

  2. I have in inclinination to think the prophecy you describe will indeed come to pass, of course many of us remember the old pub’s of the 60’s and 70’s working class people having the time of their lives, this is presicely what dictatorships don’t want people to do. Over the last twenty years, the claims of increased alcohol sales are probably true, I can’t say for sure without doing a probe, but on the basis of evidence I will not argue,I find this to be a fair comment, drinking habits especially in the U.K. have become a complex segregated afair, but it is important note that despite what we are told, the larger propotion of this is consumed by the middle classes and of course not the poor, firstly middle class drinkers seldom drink in pubs, many drink at home entertaining friends, this I now sure, as I have had good fortune of meeting people from all most classes, although these day’s the control freaks of the middle class piss me off
    more than they ever did, mainly on account of their hypocracy and power
    drunk status they hold over everbody else, But firstly, let’s
    take a look at where the arrows will fall from the bows of these new
    proposals if they are allowed to become law, “Firstly” right on the heads
    of the poor, or anyone else who finds the missfortune of falling into the pit of povert, to which many are now appearing to succumb, I watched the PC “Dominatrix on TV today, keeping records on how much people drink now, what a bloody invation of your privacy, of course they argue the time honored trump card, quoting the NSH buget, but every one knows that those treated on the NHS for alcohol reated conditions are certainly not all working class or poor, any, NHS snoop will tell you that, of course the NSH buget is indeed in crisis, it is easier to reduce treatment access of the poor, by depriving them of alcohol, thus obtaining a reduction in the buget, anyone can see how this will work, remove the cause remove the cost,It’s a fact that should such dracoinan policies become law, those who initiate it, will not suffer, ask yourselves, one important question, will the bars at westminister close, No,No, the politicians will just give themselves another pay rise, along with the other parasites on the “Gravy Train,” we must remember the totaliterian state, wants to abolish all rights of the poor, a demoralised class of people with no free will are very easy to control, this being the most important consideration, the government must be resisted at all costs, or we will end up living like pet poddles,when they say jump we say how high. Well enough from me now. I’m pooring a Brandy, drown the victory of those liberals winning the election last night, what a bloody horrible result indeed!

  3. By the way I did this with a chinese computor with a mind of it’s own when it comes to Tab’s.

  4. It was the usual garbage. They said all the same bullshit about cigs. You should have told her “Yes the report is a pack of lies” and all of those 70 organisations should have all their govt funding cut to zero. What a smug, sanctimonious bitch.

  5. It times like this I wish Mr Mathew Hoppkins were still in our company,
    he would in deed, in this age and prove his worth at least.

  6. Unfortunately for you Sean, the show ended just when she made the big mistake of mentioning the Continent. Was it simply luck, or a piece of great timing on her part? Just as I do, you must also know that the French, Germans and Italians imbibe far more alcohol than we do… and with none of the constant anti-drink complaints coming in from the health trade allowed to upset them. In fact, the longevity of the French in particular is attributed directly to the amount of red wine they drink. All day every day taught them all very valuable lessons regarding drinking wine and eating meat. Something our old licensing hours never could. The families I knew over there in the 60s and 70s all bought the stuff by the case load.

    Not a bad few minutes of air-time; although talking over each other spoiled it for me. Also, the pair of you spoke far too quickly for my liking. Sounded like she also thought she might be cut off mid-sentence. She sounded too bossy for her own good. Why do so many GPs these days consider themselves to be so superior to we gullible mortals? Is it brought about in part maybe by the confidence they’ve suddenly gained from their newly-found wealth? Anyway, doctors really shouldn’t be criticising anyone about drinking alcohol. They know too much about the perils of booze from their own direct experience. Back in the day we even called our family GP Dr Remi. He was a good bloke though because I heard him laugh once when he heard us kids shouting, “It’s Doctor Remi at the door mummy”.

  7. Well, pesicely John, I had a friend who used to work for the NHS, I got invited to quite a few of their get togethers, they certainly know what they can drink, it’s a case, “Of Don’t Do What I Do. Do What I Say” As for the poor, look at nthe comments of that horrible conservative woman, Quote, people who are poor on wealfare are not going to, Quote “Think LIke Normal People”, Quote, they are not going to have Car’s, TV,’s, Computors,or holiday’s. She so out of touch, the poor don’t have those anymore, where’s that Tory monster heading, “Genocide Of The Poor,” as for that other bitch, had this have been the 16’000’s, no doubt some pheasant would have been banging on the door of the local magistrate, quick, quick, sir, get master Hoppkins, for I have seen a witch down at that pond, she has a familar, Sir, Sir, I saw her kiss the Devils arse as well, she is a witch!

  8. Well as for the magistrate, Cerk, take down this letter, Master Hoppkins, Master Stern, come quickly we have work to do, take this piece of silver
    locate the services of a “Straw” on the way.

  9. Julie near Chicago

    Dear goodness, the whole world has gone nuts but I think maybe in some ways the U.S. and the U.K. lead the pack.

    Sean is right. Man has had a love-hate relationship with the sauce for at least 8,000 years (and I’d bet in fact two or three times that long). It’s perfectly true that most people think they’re invincible to their favorite vice, until it’s burned them a few times. This woman is another one who thinks she can save people from themselves, by governmental fiat. What a card!

    And yes, of COURSE prohibition is the goal.

    As if the example of the U.S. experiment never existed. As if the example, at least here in the U.S., of what happens when you tax ciggies to death. Now we have the gangs actively involved in cigarette stealing, smuggling, and fencing. Something to do in their spare time when they’re not occupied in the business of actual drugs.

    It’s hard to resist the allure of being the one to run other people’s lives. I guess. I’m willing to assume that in most people it starts out as a genuine impulse to help…but, well, “the road to Hell,” so forth. And at some point the urge to “help” is overwhelmed by the urge to rule. C.S. Lewis and all that.

  10. Of course they become so overwhelmed, we all end up living like prisoners
    in some hard line communist state, I think they defeat the point, they’re
    help transforms into the loss of freedom of will, they take control of very
    minds, we end up being raped of our very souls.

  11. Undoubtedly prohibition is the goal.

    The government rather likes the idea, as it will mean a large increase in the scope and power of the state and the bureaucrats who populate it.

    The facts don’t really matter in any of this. If one set of stats is exposed as bogus, another set will duly appear.

  12. She’s a Nazi control freak. We need a new Nuremburg Tribunal for the bureaunazis and I’ll be on the prosecution team pressing to hang the lot of them.

  13. I have to agree, i find her guilty, hence she be taken to a place, where by
    decision of justice she be hung by the neck till dead!

  14. ‘Anyone who wants to take this blessing away from the poor is best described as evil.

    Why can’t politicians see this? Is it because they have a streak of evil in them too?

  15. Well, researching their comments, they apear to have a pre-formulated
    agenda against the poor, we’re the poor have no swords, let them be
    protected by our swords, the pen is an almighty weapon against evil!
    These politicians will fall defeated.

  16. On this blog, we can’t be seen to be howling for people to be hung. Sorry, I won’t allow it. We know that some people want it, but Liberty is the Mother of order and not the daughter. We shall have everything done according to duly agreed order.

    Sean is correct that Attainder Acts will have to be passed first, before the property of prominent GramscoFabiaNazis can even be “voluntarily re-assigned”, and then “other acts” of “various kinds” will have to be passed, by duly constituted Parliaments, to execute any “other” penalties: whatever these might be. Otherwise he and I shall be in trouble with the authorities who watch this blog daily, and then this blog will of course, as is the norm, disappear. You don’t want that, do you.

  17. David, pity you didn’t run the edt, of some of these tory rags, they alway’s seem to calling out for the death penalty or various other forms of punishment, mind you in saying that the torys and establishment appear to be a law unto themselves, that be true in essense!

  18. Yes, david, good point, i was just watching that film on You Tube, Micheal Portillo, How To Kill A Human Being, “Capital Punishment And How To Find An Acceptable Method” according the the Mail today, Mr Portillo is a bit out of touch, they claim we have the NHS. I don’t think much of his film electrocuting pigs, I made my comments in jest David, but I have to say, i think that government lot may really mean it!

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