I upped with my fist and I shattered his jaw. He fell to the ground with his knees doubled up But it wasn’t I hit him, ’twas Johhny Jump Up.

20 April 2006

So the Irish Medical Organisation[1] want the government to increase the price of certain alcoholic drinks. Spirits, to be precise. This would, in their considered opinion would help to prevent the drink problem plaguing the streets of Ireland.

Now, while I’ll admit that there is a problem with drinking to excess in Ireland I hardly think that the government can be to blame, or are responsible. Ever hear of individual responsibility. You drink too much you get drunk. You drink even more and your liver gives up and you die[2] Who doesn’t know this?

You get drunk you do stupid things.

You drink when pregnant and you are harming your unborn baby.

People know these things. That they choose to be fucking stupid is their own look-out. Hard-hearted, maybe, but I want to be able to be stupid if I want.

You wanna stop drunken fighting on the streets, you enforce existing laws about drunken behaviour. Course that means more gardaí­, and it’ll cost.

Personally I think that the docs suggesting increasing the price just so people won’t be able to afford drink is irresponsible. Surely it’s just encouraging a culture where anyone else is to blame. Where it wasn’t my fault, the drink was just too cheap. Yeah, right. Its that whole medical god complex. They know best and we should all do as they say.

And as if putting the price up will make any difference. People who go out and get plastered aren’t going to stop just because vodka is more expensive. They’ll go for cider. Or beer. Or drugs. Or, they’ll just spend more of their income on drink.

Pointless rant now over :)


  1. at least I think thats what the IMO stands for
  2. Am I making things too simple?

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10 Responses

  1. anne says:

    Let me be the devil's (or medical god's) advocate here for a sec. Putting the price of cigarettes up (much to my chagrin) has helped reduce smoking, so it might have the same effect for alcohol.
    Now the fact that they want to enforce that hike on certain drinks is a bit silly. Unless they have undisclosed stakes in Irish beer and cider breweries…?

  2. NineMoons says:

    Has putting the price of ciggies up really reduced smoking? I don't think that's worked in Ireland, since cigarettes have been ruinously expensive for ages and people still find ways to smoke.
    Putting up the price of drink – which they do on a regular basis anyway – isn't going to stop people drinking. Not unless it costs a tenner a shot or something. If people want to drink, they will find the money for it. Like people on the dole or students managing to afford drink. I don't think it should be left up to people to do whatever the hell they want when what they want to do has a negative impact on society as a whole, but there are many better ways of tackling alcohol issues than upping the prices.

    And I won't be able to go to see your beloved James Franco tomorrow as I am supposed to be having a day-long "date" with the Beloved. Squeeee!

  3. anne says:

    In France it has worked, yes. Up to a point of course.

  4. Fence says:

    Anne the dude from the IMO on the radio gave the example of upping the price (hugely) of alcopops a few years ago. it worked short-term, but long term had no effect whatsoever on the amount purchased.
    Though I suppose you could argue that the excess money raised could be channeled straight back into the health service.

    NM, people are able to do whatever they want. The majority simply choose to follow laws/morals because they think it is the right thing to do.

  5. kyknoord says:

    There are few things that make me seethe as much as people who "know what's good for us". Okay, so I'm a bit biased on the topic, but it's still worth quoting.

  6. Mal says:

    I agree with your basic point, Fence, although I also agree with NM when she says that people should be constrained if their actions are harming society, and not only in a very direct and simple way. Society is a complex ecology and governments should be more interventionist. For instance, I would be entirely in favour of banning advertising for alcohol, and not only because it would get rid of those godddamned Guinness ads that go on forever. And advertising aimed at children should be oulawed immediately.

    I think it was the Tory MP Keith Joseph who said, "The right to suffer is one of the joys of a free economy". That might be pitching it a bit too strongly. Freedom has become fetishized in our society; meaningful freedom needs certain conditions, not just nobody telling you what to do.

    But raising the price of alcohol to stop people drinking won't work. I often think, if everybody stopped drinking and smoking tomorrow, surely the tax revenues would fall dramatically…is that what they want? 'Cos thatswhatllappen.

    And all this stuff about getting away from a pub culture is bollocks too. Pub culture should be jealously preserved.

    Tax cars and air travel instead. To the hilt.

  7. Fence says:

    I guess my libertarian side is coming out :)
    I do agree that the govt should try and stop drunken behaviour, to a certain degree, and that there should be regulation of the alcohol industry. its more the attitude of the IMO that I was annoyed at.

    As kyknoord said, it is seethe-worthy.

    As for taxes, at the moment I think the govt. should cut the tax on petrol. Prices are rising so much that they must be making a fortune. Surely they could lower the taxes, as cost prices continue to rise taxes will continue to earn more. Course in the end we'll run out of oil so that'll be one new form or tax revenue we'll be looking for.

  8. Mal says:

    I can't wait till the oil runs out and we are all galloping round on horses again. And maybe swinging broadswords.

  9. Fence says:

    And think of all the extra jobs there'll be collecting the manure.

  10. NineMoons says:

    When I said to interfere in behaviour that impacts negatively on society, I meant drunken brawling on the streets. Not so much the health service being impacted by drunks.