Sunday, 14 November 2010

Drunken nonsense

In a column under the title "the touchy-feely nonsense that killed my beautiful sister-in-law", Liz Jones combines understandable grief for a relative who died through alcoholism with random outbursts calling for prohibitions on the sale of alcohol, and maudlin ramblings about smack heads and buying paracetamol. It's hardly necessary to debunk the piece, as the writer has debunked herself.

Her whole argument seems somewhat drunken, lurching from side to side. At one moment admitting "you are unable to help them – everyone close to Laura did all they could short of rugby-tackling her to the ground and sectioning her", then calling for bans of all kinds, which one supposes would have worked for this relative, notwithstanding the earlier admission. She says:
Of course you cannot legislate against an accident or a pre­disposition towards alcoholism inherited in your genes, but you can ban fast-food joints from delivering alcohol to your door.
This because the relative got her wine delivered by a pizzeria. However, the idea that a committed alcoholic would be prevented by such a ban is laughable - and already contradicted by her own experience.

You can and must make alcohol more expensive. Some idiot on the radio said this would unjustly penalise the poor; if we took this logic further, why not sell heroin in Sainsbury’s on a two-for-one offer, so those on benefits can partake on more equal terms?

Considering, again, her own experience, the relative ordered pizza and wine, then discarded the pizza. This indicates that increasing the price of alcohol would have had little effect. The relative was quite prepared to pay higher than necessary prices for her fix. The comment on heroin is too daft to bother with, and the next line ain't much better:

Alcoholism affects poor people more than it does rich people because the poor have more problems; let’s not enable them because of some PC sense of ‘fairness’.

I guess she means; the poor must be protected from themselves, and "we" (the Big Society?) shouldn't treat them as adults. We must put the cookie jar on a higher shelf, even though it will make no difference. Liz Jones discusses a problem, that many people know from their own lives: an alcoholic relative. She puts forward a series of measures none of which, singly or collectively, would prevent the problem, as her own experience testifies.