LESS than a week after Hogmanay is perhaps not the best time to raise the issue of the nation’s love, hate affair with alcohol.
But let me say at the outset I am heartily sick. Not the at on going debate, but at the sanctimonious clap trap emanating from the mouths of people who think they can sit in judgement of others.
They include politicians who, while having every right to hit us with the horror statistics of the demon drink, operate on the basis that we should do as they say and not as they do.
The most annoying group are not, however, politicians, but older people who seem to dominate the air waves whenever the topic is raised on the radio, starting with the oft used words ‘when I was young.’ The very expression leaves me cold, and leads me to switch off, or wait for a more sane balanced view, which generally comes from younger people i.e. under 50’s. The bigotry of my own age group is genuinely terrifying, leaving myself to wonder how my own grandchildren will come across when they reach their three score and ten. Hopefully they will be more liberal, and fair minded than the current crop.
I certainly hope so, though I’ll never know, but if I read the indications right there is a fair chance our social education processes will have kicked in by then.
Back in the bars, and supermarkets, or even our corner shops the debate will rage on, hopefully leading to civilised action, not preaching as appears to be the case at the moment. The abuse of alcohol is a problem, but not one which will go away if we persist in battering vulnerable individuals who suffer from the addiction.
What we need are a range of solutions, including a plan to raise prices in supermarkets where, as I write, it is cheaper to buy a strong lager than it is a coke. It’s a situation which can’t be right, but is vigorously promoted by the big boys of the drinks industry.
Raising prices is, however, not the only tactic, as projected by the equally sanctimonious Scottish Government who are in danger of not only making it a political football, but intent in claiming it as their ball exclusively. A dangerous and ignorant strategy.
No, we are all in this together whether we like it or not. Facing up to our personal responsibilities would be a good start, without condemning others would be good.
On the other hand, let’s look at other areas where we could be equally responsible, including how we treat the environment, how we drive, care for our young, even the aforementioned older community, how we park our cars, and a range of other areas of pressing concern.
Alcohol is only one issue, albeit a huge one, badly needing to be addressed, but let’s not get it out of proportion to the rest of our lives. At best it’s a relaxing drug when taken sensibly can be great fun, but therein lies the problem.