Wednesday, November 12, 2008

And another thing...

Filling the car up with diesel today (and just why is diesel so much more expensive than petrol these days, eh?) and I noticed in the shop attached to the filling station a chiller cabinet filled with beer and wine. I didn't buy any - we've got plenty at home - but it's nice to know that you can rely on your local retailers to come to the rescue at those awkward moments when the booze runs dry.

But here's a thing. Those same do-gooders who want to clear up our streets by making it too expensive to have a drink at all would also like to see the sale of alcohol from petrol stations banned altogether.

On the face of it, this seems like a fairly reasonable idea. After all, drink driving is just not clever. There really is no excuse for it, and if it were up to me, anyone caught drink driving twice would lose their licence for good.* It makes sense then to prevent sales of alcohol from occurring somewhere we habitually take our cars.

Except of course we all take our cars to the supermarket, and I don't see much of a call out there to ban the sale of alcohol from Tesco. At least not from the mainstream loonies; I can't speak for the idiot fringe on this matter.

But that little problem aside, think about what the do-gooders are suggesting when they call for off-sales to be banned from garage shops. It's a simple message - you can't be trusted not to drink and drive. It would be better for you, and for society as a whole, if the temptation was removed.

Quite apart from the fact that following this logic leads to prohibition (and we all know how well that works), just feel the patronising tone, wallow in the sense of nanny knows best.

The problem with this and similar pronouncements, is that they chip away at our sense of responsibility. The more you try to control one aspect of a person's behaviour, the more, perversely, they will expect to be controlled and the less they will be prepared to accept the consequences of their actions. So if they get drunk and pile their car into a queue at a bus stop, it's society's fault for letting booze be sold at garage shops.

We are in Britain today more controlled, regulated and socially engineered than at any time in history. Is it just a coincidence that we seem also to be increasingly disrespectful (or dare I say ignorant and uncaring) of the rule of law?

* not that it does much good, since most offenders just drive without a licence or insurance then. But at least if they insist on doing that then you can lock them away.

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Blogger swallowtail said...

So Sir Benfro, how's your remote today?
As the USofA has shown the whole world, "self" regulation works really good for certain selfs. While the rest can go chase themselfs...I mean, selves. It is a puzzlement that socially engineered rudness is at a seemingly all-time-high. Isn't it true that most offenders do not even know that they are offending? or offensive?
PS: I am enjoying your rants.

November 13, 2008 12:06 am  
Blogger highlandwriter said...

Two rants in a row on booze -- and well thought out rants at that, mind you --

I don't know James...should we be worried or is it just that it's November, and a chill hangs in the air -- and by most accounts anyway, it's good partying weather.



November 13, 2008 12:25 am  
Blogger JamesO said...

HW - you might be forgiven for thinking me an old soak...

but I'm not that old, really;}#

And Swallowtail - I think you have the nub of it. Manners, as I've probably ranted about before, are not about saying your Ps and Qs and knowing which fork to use for which course at dinner. They're about considering the effect of your actions on others. If you consider those effects and decide your need is greater than another's, then that's one thing. But mostly people don't even realise anyone else exists at all, except when they get in the way.

We're doomed, I say. All doomed!

November 13, 2008 3:45 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Surely the answer is to ban Tesco from selling petrol?

November 14, 2008 9:24 pm  
Blogger highlandwriter said...

lol james. u r a good sport, if not an OLD soak.



November 16, 2008 3:28 am  

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