The proposals to regulate supermarket deals on alcohol, increase taxes on alcohol and increase the age to 21 for off-licence purchases are the right way to go if we want to tackle problem drinkers (retailers would then have no excuse whatsoever for selling to 16 year olds and the pub trade which is struggling (due to cheap take home booze, smuggling and smoking ban) would not be further harmed).
Quite apart from the fact that Neil proposes punishing the majority for the sins of a minority—it is only to be expected of control freak socialists, after all—he asserts that retailers will have no excuse "for selling to 16 year olds" if the age of buying is uppped to 21. That's right, Neil, but they may well sell to 18 year olds instead. And 18 year olds have more money.
But that isn't really what I wanted to point out. Now, in the above, Neil is proposing more restrictions on selling booze, OK? Now, see what follows...
The review called by Brown is ok if it is just to examine the evidence which will highlight all of the above, but if it is just to appease the Daily Mail, it is not only wrong, like the backwards step to reclassify cannabis to class B (cannabis use has dropped since laws were relaxed) - it is a dangerous political trap Brown has fallen into.
OK, so cannabis use has dropped since the lowering of restrictions. So, obviously, the way to tackle abuse of alcohol is... That's right, to put more restrictions in place! Quite, quite brilliant!
Doing the wrong thing for the wrong reasons is always bound to lose votes.
It is also... well, wrong, Neil. Can you understand that the concept of wrong exists outside the party political game, Neil? Can you?
Actually, if you think that there is problematic binge-drinking amongst 16 year olds, the correct thing to do is to ensure that retailers ID anyone that they might have any misgivings about. And the best way to ensure that they do so is to make the fines for knowingly selling booze to underage people so crippling that no shopkeeper would even risk it.
The point is—and, for fuck's sake, I have lost count of the number of times that I have had to say this under NuLabour's tenure—not to make more laws, but to enforce the ones that we already have.