In case you hadn't noticed, we will have an election this year. Actually, it will be sometime before the beginning of May; it has to be because the current bunch of idiots will have been in power for 5 years by then and thankfully they will be forced to ask us if we would like them to stay on a little longer. My temptation would be to say no, except for the fact that the most likely alternative is absolutely no better in any way shape or form. As I saw one person has written; it's like choosing what colour stick to be beaten by.
I wake up this morning and have a quick look at the news. Snow, earthquake and more alcohol related election promises. It seems that the opposition cannot come up with any new and original policies so they are hitting us with the good old "alcohol is bad" stick just the same as the government.
The last few days have seen the political parties retracting promises they realise can't be afforded, at least not without tax increases, which would be deeply unpopular. We probably have a country that more or less works quite well. Commerce works reasonably smoothly, employees are pretty much protected with robust employment laws, education, crime and healthcare are under control and most of the time the bins get emptied. This gives the political parties something of a problem; the electorate aren't fired up about much really and politics are not finding the big issue to fight for that will make the difference.
Unfortunately, alcohol abuse stories finds resonance with the general electorate. This, by my anecdotal experience, is even true with general responsible drinkers, the type that indeed do fall into the ever tightening definitions of hazardous or harmful drinkers. The general public do indeed believe we have a problem in this country.
Pete Brown is working hard in his efforts to debunk some of the propaganda that is coming from the government. The opposition is working hard to ensure it doesn't lose out on this popular scaremonger tactic. Today the Conservatives are saying that the established system of alcohol units should be replaced by centilitres pure alcohol. The fact that they are exactly the same thing, that is one unit of alcohol is a cl of pure alcohol, isn't putting them off. Their suggestion to change labelling is just a way of making news and will solve nothing.
I think we can look forward to more policies that attack alcohol from the political parties. They can't offer us more services, they daren't, the country can't afford it, we have a deficit to pay off for goodness sake. Alcohol scare stories and phoney alcohol harm prevention policies will dominate over the next few months during the run up to the election.
The problem is, despite Pete Browns excellent work, I'm not convinced we can do a great deal about it, other than perhaps whinge about it on our blogs.