Should the Poor be Prevented from Buying “Super-Strong” Alcohol? (2013), by Sean Gabb Flash Animation

Sean Gabb, Director of the Libertarian Alliance, speaking on BBC Radio Leeds on the 18th November 2013.

The background to this discussion is a joint venture between Wakefield Council and West Yorkshire Police, to prevent the sale of “super-strong” alcohol to poor people, thereby preventing them from making nuisances of themselves. This will be an “entirely voluntary” scheme, in which shopkeepers will be “invited” to take part. According to Sergeant John Rogerson, “We’ll also monitor the premises of retailers who haven’t signed up for increased levels of anti-social behaviour, public order offences, licensing offences and shop theft. If there are any increases, we will notify the licensing department and deal with any offences appropriately.”

Sean Gabb says:

  • This is an attack on the poor. “Super-strong” alcohol is defined at anything over 6.5 per cent alcohol by volume. The average £8 bottle of shiraz bought by the middle classes is twice that strength.
  • The alleged problems are probaby the usual lies rolled out to justify coercion.
  • Where someone is drunk and disorderly, there are already adequate laws in place. Let anyone who makes a public nuisance of himself be arrested and charged and tried and punished, and let his example be made a warning to others.
  • In a free country – which this is not – no one should come to the attention of the authorities unless he is suspected of a clearly-defined crime.
  • This scheme is a collective punishment of the poor, who have just as much right to drink as anyone else in England.
  • It is also based on threats of police harassment of any shopkeeper who declines to join in.
  • In general, it is a middle class, puritanical attack on the rights of poor people. Everyone behind it should be sacked, and their department shut down.

12 responses to “Should the Poor be Prevented from Buying “Super-Strong” Alcohol? (2013), by Sean Gabb

  1. Ok. So all I do is dress and act as if I am rich, and go into a shop, with money, and offer to “buy” four Tennents-tinnies while looking John my friend the shopkeeper in the eye. Will I get thrown out then?

    Alternatively, I can wear “trackies and hoodie”, shift nochalantly from foot to foot in front of the till to buy the identicall goods, while gumchewing and talking monosyllabically on my phone, while proferring the same money. Will I get thrown out then?

  2. The moral is, then, when trying to buy “superstrength” alcohol, to go out wearing your most formal funeral-clothes, stand up straight, look the cashier in the eye, thank them very much, and you are sorted.

  3. The utterly inevitable result will be an upsurge in home-brewing. This is not what we “radio-hams” mean, when we talk about building a 2000-watt “linear” from suqezy-bottles, glue and string (not to mention four valves of the “813” sort (you can look it up.)

    Thousands will poison themselves because their fermentatioon has cocked up and gone methanolic, and there will be blindness and death. Perhaps that’s what the GramscoFabiaNazis are hoping for, and why _The Police Have All The Guns Now_ …

    Distillation will follow, and The Police will then have a new justification to have their numbers increased to the point of supersaturation. then we will have arrived at the GramscoFabiaNazi Nirvana, in which all people are either criminals against the State, or policemen.

    There will be nothing else that it is possible to be.

    I commend, again, to you all, “Armoured Libraries”. It’s our only hope. Let there be as many of these as there are houses, then some may possibly survive.

  4. Concerned Briton

    Maybe the governments and ideologues of the day should think about the kind of society they have created, where so many people still decide to get off their heads on drink and drugs in the first place – and why as a society it still often tends to get celebrated rather than frowned upon.

    (Here, I am more specifically talking about the scenes in our city and town centres at the weekends, not a few cans of super strength from the corner shop consumed at home)

    Is the kind of society being fostered actually driving people to binge drink?….Where people have so sense of a collective future, no sense of direction, often no sense of morality or acting decently, with many people on the lower rungs of this ladder blotting out the world and the world’s problems and focussing on the hedonism of the here and now instead…. heading back into Gin Lane, in a culture and society too stupefied and supportive of being stupefied to ever take the required bulls by the horn and challenge what is going on?

    As is usual for these kinds of debates, and as Sean rightfully suggested in the audio clip, these people are out there who gain employment from imposing these schemes and rules on the whole populace whether they are the causers of problems or not.

    It is a form of tyranny which concentrates on the wrong things. They are not tackling the root of the problems, only what resultant is put in front of their nose.

    I would not like to live next door to an off license and have “youths” buying super strength beer and being a complete menace either. I know that people would want to see action taken and “something done” about it. I cannot blame people for wanting to try something to reign it in – and for the Police to be supportive because it might cut some of their workload out.

    But Sean is again right, and he made the point I was going to make before I listed to the clip. We already have ways and means of dealing with this situation – and probably have done for a hundred years.

    The trouble is that the Police have had to – or willingly – turned a blind eye for so long, and that the system has become that over run with crimes of all sorts, with no new prisons being built, a revolving door of crimewave criminals, importing millions of criminals into the country, and so on and so forth that they could not manage to uphold the law as it supposedly stands.

    Can you imagine the police, say, this weekend, arresting all the people deemed drunk and disorderly in all of England’s major towns and cities?! There would be nowhere to put them all and not enough man power to process the charges.

    But in theory, this is what ought to be done. Get past a certain point, start throwing traffic cones in the road and urinating on a bus, or walking around with your knickers around your ankles and defecating on the pavement you should be locked up and fined for your conduct, not just sent to some “drink tank” for care and treatment!

    The same for local menaces. If you are drunk and disorderly, breaching the peace, being threatening or whatever else, then you ought to be dealt with. I see no difference between middle class students on their “frolics” being a menace in a town centre at the weekend, and a “poor” set of lads lurking around a shop with four cans of special brew and vandalising a bus shelter or graffiti’ing the local park. They both make life unpleasant for everybody else.

    Again, they would in theory be breaking the law by doing it and should be dealt with. However, a blind eye seems to be turned to the extent of things that go on, and folk wonder why it carries on just the same.

    • Concerned Briton

      As an aside, They say that crime has fallen year on year. We know that a third of them are never investigated, another third will likely not result in a conclusion, and the other third will not include the half of what it ought to.

      That is when people even bother reporting them any more, like stolen bikes or whatever, because they know all they will get is a crime number and told to claim it on insurance or something.

      My father once caught some cheeky “builders” thieving a load of large stones from the top of a country lane wall. He turned the car around, waited around the corner and followed the van to the house it belonged to, took the registration, took the street name and number, came home and contacted the police.

      What did they do? They did nothing about the actual crime in the end, despite all the evidence and information he had collected FOR THEM.

      They instead lectured my father on how he is not to follow people, that he basically should not be doing what he did! (Something that they are clearly not doing!).

      Okay, it may well have been dangerous for him – but he was doing what he saw as his civic duty.

      They were actually so pompous and rude towards him and interrogating HIM and HIS details and demanding to know why HE was there etc that he ended up getting shirty with them and said his goodbyes and said “that’s the last time I bother to try and be a good citizen”.

      Anyway, I digress. I know the police are not all bad and that they have a very hard job to do at times. The problem is they are often mechanically going through the motions and they can be “institutionalised” into seeing no other way things ought to be.

      They, in some cases, have become the long arm of the state and the willing participants in many a hare brained scheme by jumped up authoritarians that want to meddle in everybody’s lives just to deal with the small few who wreck it for everybody else.

  5. When I am War Secretary, all the “police” will have to go. Any that re-applies for his previous job will very probably be arrested, and if he is not careful, “may accidentally be seen to fall against sharp objects while in the waiting room, for interview, and be declared DOA”.

    The problem is that we are too far gone down to the cesspit. We will simply have to start again. it will mean the need for Better People. if it means that there are “no police”, for a time,then so be it.

    Ordinary Free-Holders will of course be allowed all the weapons that they decide that they want. This may be of some help in the early decades.

  6. “According to Sergeant John Rogerson, ”We’ll also monitor the premises of retailers who haven’t signed up for increased levels of anti-social behaviour, public order offences, licensing offences and shop theft. If there are any increases, we will notify the licensing department and deal with any offences appropriately.”

    Ah yes, that fine British system of rule by threat.

  7. Coming from the low end of the economic spectrum, there is not a lot of dough left for luxuries after you’ve paid your bills and council tax.

    Now that Labour and the left have gone all middle class orientated, there are fewer people willing to speak out for the working poor.

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