In a major blow to those who promote social inclusion …

Comment on Night out on the town, and living to tell the tale by Russell Guy.

In a major blow to those who promote social inclusion by law and order without the introduction of a take-away alcohol sales free days regulation to impede the current excessive consumption in Alice, the UK Conservative government, led by David Cameron, has announced a floor price on alcohol (Guardian. 23/3/12).
Cameron, instinctively opposed to such state intervention, has been persuaded by evidence of crime and health experts on the damaging social impact of alcoholism, especially among young people.
He has overriden objections from the health secretary, Andrew Lansley. The 40p a unit minimum price could mean 50,000 fewer crimes each year and 9,000 fewer alcohol related deaths over the next decade, the government claims.
He is also to press ahead with proposals requiring clubs and pubs to pay a levy to the police to cover the cost of alcohol-related disorder.
The government can defend itself on the basis that the action is proportionate in view of the damage to the nation’s health caused by binge drinking.
Cameron has said that “binge drinking isn’t some fringe issue, it accounts for half of all alcohol consumed in this country. The crime and violence it causes drains resources in our hospitals, generates mayhem on our streets and spreads fear in our communities.
“My message is simple. We can’t go on like this. We have to tackle the scourge of violence caused by binge drinking. And we have to do it now. When beer is cheaper than water, it’s just too easy for people to get drunk on cheap alcohol at home before they even set foot in the pub.
“So we are going to introduce a new minimum unit price – so for the first time it will be illegal for shops to sell alcohol for less than this set price per unit.
“This isn’t about stopping responsible drinking, adding burdens on business or some new stealth tax – it’s about fast immediate action where universal change is needed.
“Of course, I know this won’t be universally popular. But the responsibility of being in government isn’t always about doing the popular thing. It’s about doing the right thing.”
Chief Constable Jon Stoddart, of the Association of Chief Police Officers welcomed the move. “The growing trend for ‘pre-loading’ means that young people are often drunk before they even enter a bar,” he said. “By the time they hit the streets at closing they are more likely to get involved in crime and disorder.”
Alice Springs with the same problems has been divided on a floor price. The UK government decision and Australian evidence-based statistics suggest that alcohol abuse is an underlying and separate issue to a simple law and order solution.

Recent Comments by Russell Guy

NT-SA agreement hardly historic
Paul Keating, in his 1992 Redfern Speech, framed by speechwriter Don Watson, author of the somewhat dryly punitive opus, The Bush, also claimed a historic mandate, announcing success for Reconciliation “within the next decade.”
It’s in the nature of politics to claim credit for doing something, mostly spending tax revenue and living in hope that it won’t run out.
In my opinion, the “historic” issue is just a beat up or a sop.
Pass me another piece of Bicenttennial birthday cake, please.


Greens on Pine Gap: Move towards non-aligned foreign policy
The Greens, once declared an “alternative” political party, inherited the structural social and cultural goalposts, but they keep trying to kick goals through them.
Kinselas’s, one of Sydney’s long established pubs, was recently sold through the Sunsuper-backed Australian Pub Fund for $22m.
It was purchased in 2010 for $10m, but it’s been said that it would have gone for $40m had the NSW government’s lock-out laws not been enacted.
Senator Di Natale obviously supports other supply-reduction measures, but dealing with the structural wealth of Super funds and their investment in the alcohol industry is a bit more difficult than continuing to bang the party political donation route to government corruption.
It would be nice if politicians who eschew liberal social policy when it suits them, could tackle financial regulation through institutionalised investment in the alcohol industry.


They must be joking!
@ Charlie Carter. Sense is subjective. Some people laugh when others don’t and vice versa. Cheers.


They must be joking!
From reading these comments over a number of years, there are a lot of disgruntled people who have moved to Alice Springs in recent times, who appear to want the place to conform to their aspirations.
They talk about “remote” and “communities” in the abstract.
They have no idea of Mbantua.
They want what they think life should offer, according to what they read in the glossy inserts or la dolce vita on television.
When the lights go out and it’s time to cook dinner on an open fire, what then, ye dreaming?


What the open letter didn’t say
End-of-day performances by the many local musicians, occurring in the Mall is a great idea for so many obvious reasons.
I did this numerous times in the 1980s with musos and it’s not that difficult with a small PA system.
It creates paid work and gives a sense of cultural belonging that cannot really be created by other art forms.
Music speaks all languages. We had occasional problems with intoxicated persons, but violence was extremely rare.
I urge the council to look at this again, especially where inner-city gentrification is forcing musicians out and replacing “live” entertainment with grog shanties. Goodness, people might start dancing again.


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