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I despair at politicians who think making booze dearer will do anything but penalise the poor

I sometimes think the in-built, deep and seemingly irredeemable prejudice I relentlessly and consistently maintain towards politicians isn't entirely fair.

After all, stereotyping of any nature has no rational basis in fact and if I've learned anything (arguable), it's that nothing in life is ever black and white but is played out in various shades of ever-changing, murky grey with the occasional flash of vibrant colour.

People surprise you, places turn out to be nothing like you'd imagine, nobody behaves in a certain exclusive way simply because they're Scottish, Australian, a toupee wearer, a caravan owner or whatever.

Therefore, I sometimes muse: it's ridiculous to tar all pollies with the same bog brush.

How can one self-seeking, holier than thou, almost invariably boring, unoriginal thinking individual be just as tedious and uninspired as the next self-seeking, holier than …etc etc.

I invariably return to my ostensibly bigoted point of view precisely because politicians of every political hue and in fact of almost every country (has there ever been a point in history when they're so universally, so comprehensively reviled?) repeatedly provide the evidence.

Boring, uninspired and uninspiring, self-righteous to a fault, usually spewing the same old tried, tested and failed mixter-maxter phony-baloney policies which keeled over at the first fence the last time they were trotted out.

And to make matters much worse, privately - in the pub with their mates or bunked up with the half-witted, so-called research assistant they're s******g - they don't even actually believe it themselves.

Yes, I'm prejudiced. Who wouldn't be?

The latest execrable policy to emanate from a smart office desk near you, down Holyrood way as a matter of fact, is the plan to establish a minimum pricing policy for alcohol.

Now, apparently, certain people - almost entirely the sort of dole pyjama wearing underclass most safely observed in captivity in a Jeremy Kyle TV studio - are taking advantage of cut-price booze offers to such an extent that for a mere £5, you can comfortably get on the swally for the best part of a week.

Now, leaving aside, for the moment, the veracity of such a claim - even a half dozen cans of Viz Magazine's resident jakey Eight Ace's favoured tipple costs 1.49 - let us consider the wider implications of making alcohol more expensive.

Number one - have you ever met an alcoholic? I mean a full-on, solid gold, no messing about 100% piss pot?

I have. Quite a few. And the one thing they all have in common is that when they're desperately searching for a drink - not wanting one but needing one, and there's a difference - how much they're prepared to pay is neither here nor there. The price simply doesn't come into the equation.

There's only one thing that anyone with a drink problem has in common with a fellow addicted imbiber. There will be lots of things they don't have in common - lifestyles, income, nationality, circumstances, gender - but only one characteristic they generally share.

If and when they have to procure some booze - they will find a way.

Because, alcoholism is a sickness, not a lifestyle choice. You don't choose it. It - due to a complicated, ever-changing set of circumstances, background, experience, predilection, disappointment and discontentment utterly unique to the individual involved - chooses you.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not playing the booze-hounds-are-merely-innocent-deluded-victims-who-need-to-be-mollycoddled-into-recovery card.

To be quite honest, I'm not entirely sure of the best way to treat alcoholism - a ubiquitous malignancy prevalent in nearly every society worldwide and one which was single-handedly culpable in nearly every court case I've ever observed in over 30 years in the criminal justice system.

I do know, however, that making it more expensive, isn't going to do a damned thing. Except create more misery.

Especially in families who're already doing it tough, and agreeing to ritually humiliate yourself on Jeremy Kyle is by definition doing it as tough as it gets as far as I'm concerned.

Poor people will, by definition, bear the brunt of any such pricing policy. Well, duh, of course they will.

"See, they're mostly the ones we're trying to get at anyway. They're completely hopeless, let's face it, what do they contribute to society? - hee haw - and anyway hardly any of them ever vote anyway.

"You're not trying to tell me that benefit-cheating, recklessly procreating booze-swilling pond life like that should be allowed to seek oblivion from their hideous, pointless, blood sucking existence by getting completely out of their heads on cheap, chemical cut-price rats-piss?"

Oh yeah, see what you mean. Pity it won't work.

"Yeah, we know it won't work. Of course it won't work. It never has."

Why do it then? Why introduce a policy that won't achieve a single thing except make life harder for the already hopelessly disengaged de-classed elements of society?

"Because we're politicians. That's what we do."

Contextual targeting label: 
Local government

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