It’s bad enough that the English media bangs on endlessly about the recession which, in my opinion, has done nothing to aid recovery in Blighty – it has simply given consumers another reason to keep their money in their wallets instead of, for example, helping the manufacturing sector by buying a few ‘white goods’. As well as telling people what to think and do, now the Nanny State rears its ugly head once again and tells us what to watch...
In Little England, we always have to pull up the drawbridge and find someone to blame for our woes. Not enough jobs? Must be down to immigrants. Recession? Blame the b/wankers (delete as appropriate). Well yes, they did have a lot to do with it but so did the culture of living on credit and nobody forced individuals at gunpoint to take on debt.
And now there’s the recommendation by the British Medical Association that all alcohol advertising should be banned in an attempt to combat binge and youth drinking. On the news last night, viral marketing was criticised because, for example, some teenage girls copied the Lambrini dance on You Tube. OK, that’s not ideal but it didn’t mean they went on to drink the stuff just because they replicated a few ‘cool’ dance steps.
Britain’s drink problem is down to more than just advertising. Surely there should be an attempt to curb whoever is supplying alcohol to young people these days: whether parents are handing it over or off-licenses are failing to perform age checks. ‘Nanny Stating’ us so we can’t view – for example – those silly Smirnoff ads where voddie drinkers are dressed up in debauched-looking fancy dress costumes having a night they’ll “never forget” is hardly going to deter Male Vertical Volume Drinkers chucking up at 2am, stressed-out mums necking multiple bottles of vino after the kiddies have gone to bed, and gals on hen nights downing everything in sight while wearing ridiculous L-plates. Methinks it’s the long-standing culture in Britain that causes this type of drinking, not the industry’s advertising and its sponsorship of music and sporting events.
If more pubs allowed families inside, as they do in Spain, perhaps binge drinkers would be deterred from their anti-social and personally-damaging activities. In this part of Andalucia, binge drinking isn’t an established part of the culture: the vino and cerveza (beer) would be mopped up by tapas long before people started ‘bottling’ each other and brawling in the street. Families go out together: there isn’t a proliferation of bars with happy hours full of 20-somethings drinking as much as they can, as quickly as they can. Although alcohol is cheap, people aren’t lurching around being sick and peeing themselves in the street. I hark back to the incident when I was asked to remove myself and my first son (aged two at the time) from a civilised cafe bar in central Brighton at 2pm on a Thursday afternoon because the licensing regulations decreed “no children present”, even though food was being served and we were quietly taking in the scene. Obviously, it’s better to have drunkards lurching around and the families with kids should be consigned to McDonalds instead.
It strikes me that, in Britain, people aren’t held personally responsible for their own failure to remain healthy in their nutrition and drinking habits. And the fact that they can’t be bothered to cook decent meals is clearly someone else’s fault too. Perhaps adverts for burgers and chocolate be banned in an attempt to curb NHS spend on treating obesity problems, which are also rising? And that’s not all. Back in March, I was refused kiddies’ cough medicine by three different chemists: the rules from BMA had changed to disallow supply to children aged under two, with guidance for children under seven, (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-546909/Cough-medicine-banned-children-100-remedies-taken-shelves.html) because some parents can’t read the instructions and administer incorrect doses. So rather than educating ignorant individuals, the answer is to Nanny us with a blanket ban for our nought and one year olds instead. Meaning that parents who can actually read the label are forced to endure a sleepless night watching their infants cough endlessly. In Spain, antibiotics are freely available over the counter in the pharmacies because adults are trusted to administer them in a proper way. And cough medicine and expectorants for infants are allowed – again, people are trusted to read the darn label.
From irritating to sad... according to an article in yesterday's Daily Mail, we Brits aren’t just uncontrollable drinkers and personally irresponsible for our actions but we’ve lost our passion in the bedroom too. According to a recently launched book, ‘Why Women Have Sex’, based on a survey of 1,000 women, reasons for nookie include “to shut him up”, “because he took me for a meal” and – what a killer - “because he’ll take the rubbish out”. Hmm. No wonder Brits feel compelled to binge drink with all this personal accountability, fun and romance going on in their lives!