Saturday, July 12, 2008

Beer Barons Battered But Bite Back

Or, ‘Why most politicians should be herded up and bitch-slapped with their own departmental reports.’

Our Federal Health minister, Nanny Nicola Roxon has been on something of a crusade of late. And I use the word ‘crusade’ in its ancient Neanderthal context where it means ‘a process by which we can stop normal happy responsible people from having any fun for as long as there are dickheads out there, being dickheads and doing dickhead things’. Shouting loudly from her pulpit (made from old beer cases) so as to drown out any voices of reason, she cried that ‘alcohol’ costs Australians $15 billion a year, and that the only people who didn’t think binge drinking was a problem were “the alcohol industry and the Liberal Party”.

Newsflash, Nanny. ‘Alcohol’ does not cost Australia $15b. DICKHEADS DO!! Making good people pay more for their beer and whatnot doesn’t make a dickhead stop being a dickhead. You dickhead.

But, ploughing on blindly through the fog of common sense, her department of Fun Finishers has rolled out a veritable septic tank full of policies and directives by which they expect to combat and defeat binge drinking. The only problem with their near sighted nannying is that it fails to observe the one basic fundamental issue at the guts of the problem. The dickhead. And HIS responsibility for HIS OWN actions.

Tax the shit out of alcohol, force producers to put warning labels all over their bottles and cans, ban liquor companies from sponsorship of sporting clubs and generally smack them on the wrist for daring to responsibly market and distribute legal and socially acceptable products..

So it was good to see the ‘Booze Barons’ fight back. It was also good to see the fine journalists at Melbournes’ Herald Sun go with the unemotive and neutral moniker of Booze Barons instead of something corny or facetious like ‘Industry Experts’ or ‘Successful Retailers’ or something dicky like that.

In response to the knee-jerk reaction of the Government, the four biggest players in the liquor industry – heads of brewers Lion Nathan and Foster’s and the chiefs of liquor retail divisions of Coles and Woolworth’s - were given the front page and a full page inside to give their opinions on five major areas relating to the drinking problems in our community.

They were asked to provide their thoughts on binge dinking, the recent taxing of ‘alcopops’ , low alcohol products, who’s to blame and what we can do to fix it.

All of them, in response to ‘who must take responsibility for alcohol related harm?’ echoed the same theme.

“Responsibility must lie primarily with the individual.” “An individuals decision to consume excessive amounts of alcohol and their actions are ultimately their own responsibility.” "We certainly believe the person who consumes the alcohol needs to take responsibility for their actions ..” ”Ultimately it comes down to individual responsibility to know and stay within (their) limits, the law and community standards.”

As to the scourge of binge drinking, all the stats point to a general decline in total alcohol consumption over the last three decades or so and, if we have a problem to address, it is the manner in which SOME people (dickheads) feel it necessary to drink i.e.; like dickheads. Brewers and retailers are subject to plenty of strict guidelines in terms of making, marketing and selling grog. Responsible service of alcohol and ID checks are all in place and are generally well adhered to. It must also be remembered that the VAST MAJORITY OF DRINKERS PURCHASE AND CONSUME THEIR ALCOHOL RESPONSIBLY. Sorry, the caps lock was stuck. So why do we need to punish the innocent rather than educate the guilty? And if education don’t work, then punish them. But not us.

A report on the story can be found here. But I’ve given you all the good bits and cut out the crap, so, really, why bother? Life’s short. Have a beer instead.,22049,23965433-5014099,00.html#

No comments: