Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Alcohol price-fixing will not solve binge-drinking

It is rumoured that David Cameron is inclining towards the imposition of a minimum price for alcohol in order to the problems of binge-drinking. The Prime Minister is understood to have instructed officials to develop detailed proposals to ban the sale of drink at below between 40p and 50p a unit.

So a professing Conservative free-marketeer in coalition with a professing Liberal proponent of equality seek to adopt a Socialist mechanism to interfere with market prices which will disproportionately hit the poorest in society. Estimates suggest that a minimum price per unit of 45p would result in the steepest price increases for cider, gin and vodka, while wine, beer and whisky would see more modest rises.

So, a bottle of Sainsbury's finest gin with around 37.5 per cent alcohol content would go up from £6.95 to £11.85. A two-litre bottle of Tesco's cider would more than triple in price from £1.20 to £3.75. The cost of a £12 bottle of whisky would rise to £12.60, while a bottle of cheap wine would go up from around £3.75 to £4.20. A four-pack of beer with more than five per cent alcohol content would cost a minimum of about £3.95.

Cold someone please tell the Prime Minister that louts and slappers intent on getting off their faces on a Friday night binge in the town centre will not be deterred by a couple of quid: those who can pay £1.20 for two litres of cider will certainly find £3.75. And what 60p on a £12 bottle of whisky will achieve is something of a mystery (other, of course, than to swell the coffers of HM Treasury). The poorest will find it hardest: low-income households who drink their stout responsibly will feel the effects far more than the middle and higher-income households who swim in lager and guzzle down the Chardonnay.

National price-fixing will not solve binge-drinking. And if it is left to local authorities to introduce bylaws to make alcohol more expensive in the town centres, this will simply introduce incoherence into the market and give retailers outside the controlled zone an unfair advantage. There is also an EU dimension here which cannot be ignored, but is tangential to the main issue, which is that it is not the supply of alcohol that needs regulating, but the demand.

People drink for a variety of reasons, and the vast majority do so responsibly. But alcohol is a drug like any other, and those who seek escape from loneliness, depression, abuse or the stresses of modern living are far more vulnerable to its effects and prone to addiction. It is tragic to hear of 25-year-old men with incurable cirrhosis of the liver. It is heart-breaking to read of young mothers who have been drinking heavily for 10 years and who bring up their children to prefer Tetley's to Ribena. And it is profoundly distressing to learn of children who cower in fear when their fathers return at 2.00am; when the doors slam and the shouting starts. Those scars can last a lifetime.

Alcoholism is a classless disease quite independent of wealth. It may be more discreet in the affluent suburbs, but only because it spreads behind closed doors. In poorer areas, it has to spill out onto the streets because there is an overwhelming need to escape from a home of tedium, depression or abuse. However fleeting, alcohol makes you feel better: it anaesthetises you to the unbearable reality.

A few quid on a bottle of vodka will not address hopelessness, despair, mental illness or family breakdown.


Blogger G. Tingey said...

Furthermore, the really nasty puritan section of the so-called medical profession label ME a "binge" drinker, because I consume (approx) 16-20 pints of beer, and about two bottles of wine a week!
Which is complete nonsense.
Remember the so-called "safe alchohol/drinking limits" have (excuse me) NO SCIENTIFIC OR REAL FACTUAL BASIS AT ALL
They were made up out of thin air.

Unless, of course, they are secret islamists ....

28 December 2011 at 09:15  
Blogger Windsor Tripehound said...

Before bringing in new legislation to tackle binge drinking it would be a good idea to enforce the laws that already exist.

It is an offence to be drunk in public, it is an offence to serve alcoholic drinks to someone under the age of 18 and it is an offence to serve alcohol to someone who is already drunk.

If more drunks had to face a few days in prison, and above all if more pubs and clubs had their licenses revoked then perhaps minds might be focussed.

28 December 2011 at 09:37  
Blogger Curmudgeon said...

AIUI it is not an offence to be drunk in public, only to be drunk and disorderly. And how do you define "drunk" anyway? Aren't most revellers in a typical city centre at midnight on Saturday "drunk"?

28 December 2011 at 09:58  
Blogger Windsor Tripehound said...

Curmudgeon said...
And how do you define "drunk" anyway?

We seem to manage for motorists. So even if the 80mg/ltr limit is not necessarily appropriate for pedestrians it would suggest that the problem is not insurmountable.

28 December 2011 at 10:13  
Blogger non mouse said...

Ah, so that's the problem!!! (mgs and ltrs--- how can anybody understand what quantities are involved: when the measurements are all foreign?

28 December 2011 at 10:21  
Blogger john in cheshire said...

As Windsor Tripehound suggests above, there is already more than enough legislation in force to address the matter of violent behaviour, whether drunk or not. We don't need any more laws. And when money is involved, the original purpose will be subordinated to the task of government (local and central) taking more from us than it has a right to expect. Once the minimum price is introduced, then each year, it will be raised (for our own good, of course). If anyone has the ear of Mr Cameron then could they please tell him to keep out of this. Oh, and if he wants to do something useful, he could repeal or at least amend the smoking ban in pubs.

28 December 2011 at 10:32  
Blogger Belsay Bugle said...

Cameron should remember what that wise Tory Samuel Johnson said about charity to the poor:
'What signifies, says some one, giving halfpence to beggars? they only lay it out in gin or tobacco.
"And why should they be denied such sweeteners of their existence (says Johnson)? it is surely very savage to refuse them every possible avenue to pleasure, reckoned too coarse for our own acceptance. Life is a pill which none of us can bear to swallow without gilding; yet for the poor we delight in stripping it still barer, and are not ashamed to shew even visible displeasure, if ever the bitter taste is taken from their mouths."'

28 December 2011 at 11:23  
Blogger Preacher said...

For what it's worth. I feel that the idea is simply a stealth tax.
There are many responsible people who enjoy the chance to socialise over a drink without drinking themselves into oblivion. Sticking a plaster over a gaping wound will not solve the problem, it needs careful review of all the current laws pertaining to the problem & change where & if applicable.

28 December 2011 at 11:57  
Blogger IanCad said...

If this "Rumour" has legs then it is yet more evidence of Cameron's almost total lack of common sense.
Is this the man to lead us in the upcoming Falklands crisis?

28 December 2011 at 12:20  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Thingey Are you trying to support the brewery industry singlehandedly? It's no wonder your comments are somewhat slurred and offbeat!

28 December 2011 at 12:24  
Blogger Ruth Gledhill said...

The American prohibition disaster proved what a mistake it is to attempt to control alcohol consumption through the mechanism of the market. But I don't think that is what is really going on here. Surely this is as effective a revenue raising exercise as any? It seems nonsensical that alcohol is so cheap when everything else that can be taxed to blazes is already taxed that way. Surely this latest hike should be approved of as helping the coffers of the country, especially when you think of the cost to the NHS of drink-related illness. What has been really depressing this Christmas has been the absolute impossibility of buying mince pies, cakes and puddings that are not drenched in alcohol, even in so-called 'health' food shops. We're barely allowed even to look at nuts any more, and buying anything with decent amounts of yummy fatty stuff and sugar in is darned difficult. Yet at every corner shop and out of town supermarket, 'they' try and shove alcohol down your throat. Even the innocent-looking Tesco risotto is made with white wine. Still, it is not as bad as the year I bought a turkey sandwich from a well-known chain of sandwich shops and had to throw it away cos it had alcoholic cranberry sauce. Tax away, say I. Make them pay.

(I write as one of 'those' unspeakables who don't drink alcohol, not because they don't like it but because they once liked it too much.)

28 December 2011 at 12:29  
Blogger Tom Mann said...

Ruth, what planet have you been living on? I work at sainsburys and I've just checked the standard range of mince pies and Xmas puds. No alcohol. Mr kipling, no alcohol. You do know during cooking burns off the alcohol in the risotto, don't you? How much of an alcy where you anyway, to be scared of a little booze in your pudding?

28 December 2011 at 12:45  
Blogger Dodo the Katholikos Dude said...

"Tickets this way for the Chatsworth Express
Come and watch pikeys making a mess
Of the lives they were given by him upstairs
And kids they're convinced aren't actually theirs

What sound on earth could ever replace
Kids needing money and wives in your face
Cos this, people reckon, and me included,
Is why pubs and drugs were kindly invented

To calm us all down, stop us going mental
These are Chatsworth Estate's basic essentials
We are worth every penny, we're grinding your axes
You sit on our head, but you pay the taxes

Make poverty history, cheaper drugs now
Make poverty history, cheaper drugs now!"

28 December 2011 at 12:52  
Blogger MrTinkles said...

First...just to say, I agree with Your Grace's post and the majority of the comments...this idea is just stupid. Cameron does Blair - in the worst way!
But I did just have to pick up on one comment...G Tingey you may or may not be a binge drinker (which is not particularly about the total amount consumed per week so your figures mean little) - but you are plain wrong.
"Remember the so-called "safe alchohol/drinking limits" have (excuse me) NO SCIENTIFIC OR REAL FACTUAL BASIS AT ALL
They were made up out of thin air."
No, you just made that up out of thin air...
The recommended units ARE based on proper researched medical data. you may not like them...but like the tiny group of smokers dumb enough to maintain that tobaco doesn't cause lung cancer, denying it wont make it go away.

28 December 2011 at 13:13  
Blogger Sam Vega said...

"So a professing Conservative free-marketeer in coalition with a professing Liberal proponent of equality seek to adopt a Socialist mechanism to interfere with market prices which will disproportionately hit the poorest in society."

I wonder what they think about legalising cannabis?

28 December 2011 at 13:50  
Blogger Windsor Tripehound said...

MrTinkles said...
The recommended units ARE based on proper researched medical data.

In which case you can do all of us sceptics a favour and direct us to the appropriate research findings. I'm sure they can be found on-line somewhere.

28 December 2011 at 13:58  
Blogger Corrigan1 said...

Well, it's good to see that the Tories understand at least that there is a difference between England and Scotland. When the SNP introduced similar legislation in the Scottish Parliament, the Tories helped vote it down. Of course, in that case there was no question of opposition for opposition's own sake, we need hardly add.

28 December 2011 at 13:59  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

As a poor person I am in favour of the price of booze going up, and bring back the strict licensing laws again too. It certainly was a challenge for 14/15 yr olds to dress up as 18 to get cider from the off licence or get into the pub or club.

We've always had a problem with alcohol look at Hogarth's depiction of gin bunnies, that's why the Liberals of all people under Lloyd George introduced the strict licensing laws.

I think clubs and pubs too should be more responsible by hiking the prices right up. Alcoholic drinks are a treat and should be marketed as such rather than to encourage guzzling of large quantities at bargain basement prices. Young people get plastered on cheap alcohol whilst getting ready to go out, then proceed to get legless whilst out. People before the laddette and holiday cultures of the nineties took hold used to go out for a drink and to socialise more, now they seem to have just one aim, to down as much as they can and get bladdered and socialising for some constitutes having sex in the toilets!

I think the government should encourage breweries and the alcoholics drinks industry to unlock people's aspirational value and create a new culture of connoisseurs. If Joe Bloggs on the council estate wants a drink instead of bargain Bulgarian battery acid at £3.75 he should be aspiring to a nice bottle of Chilean Merlot at £6.00 a bottle. People need to learn more about wines and spirits and how they are made so that they can appreciate them more rather than flinging them down their necks hardly touching the taste buds.

28 December 2011 at 14:51  
Blogger Manfarang said...

Sign the pledge.Bring back Temperance.

28 December 2011 at 15:01  
Blogger Berserker said...

Ruth Gledhill is taken to task for living on another planet. What about her views on living on this planet? She states:

Surely this is as effective a revenue raising exercise as any? It seems nonsensical that alcohol is so cheap when everything else that can be taxed to blazes is already taxed that way.

Don't you know that British wine duty is the highest in the world and has been for a long time. I believe it is about £2.72 a bottle whereas in France it is 3p! Every year the hike in duty goes up. Not to mention the VAT charges on the duty! This is a double theft. Alcohol so cheap? She obviously does spend her hard earned on a nice Aussie Merlot.

28 December 2011 at 15:52  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

When the Gov't raises a tax on something, you can bet its because it wants the revenue. 'Binge drinking' may be the excuse, but 'We need the money' is the truth. So an interesting dynamic is set in place. The Government suddenly becomes marginally dependent upon the sustainment of the very activity it says it is seeking to suppress. It needs people to drink in order to maintain the additional tax revenue. So the elasticity of demand for alcohol should be examined. You have to wonder if the minimum price will be set to maximize Gov't revenue without significantly affecting demand. But then .. I am a cynic when it comes to Gov't.

In any case, it can't solve the problem they say they are addressing. Alcohol is a cheap way to narcotize the meaninglessness that people find in the center of their lives. You aren't going to fix that problem by raising the price. You need to give them purpose - an increasingly difficult task in an increasingly materialist and secular culture. It's only going to get worse as the growing Asian economies really start to bite into western standards of living. People who believe in nothing have to find a reason to get up each morning. For so long they have been told "The purpose of life is self-indulgence." What happens when the money isn't there to pay for it anymore?


28 December 2011 at 15:56  
Blogger English Viking said...

This Gov really is as thick as it looks.

I live in a country with amongst the most expensive alcohol prices in the world, and there are also severe restrictions on the times and days of availability, and even the shop it is available from.

Regular beer and lager is sold in supermarkets only, from 10-8 weekdays, 10-6 Saturdays, total ban on Sundays. Wine, strong beer and liquor (in fact anything over 4.6% ABV) is ONLY available from a state monopoly, aptly called Vinmonopolet. Closed Sunday and Monday (Monday was felt to be especially important to be closed, to stop problem drinkers from restocking if they had exhausted their supplies over the weekend), 10-4 Wed, Thu, 10-5 Fri, 10-2 Sat.

No sales of anything over 20% to anyone under 21.

These restrictions are just an irritation. They do not prevent access to alcohol, it just requires a bit more planning, that's all. Excessive drinking is a way of life here, just as it is in England.

All the ridiculous pricing has done, and will do in the UK, is encourage bootlegging and smuggling. There is a roaring trade of Polish, Lithuanian and Slavakian Hooch in our village (which I, obviously, would never dream of encouraging :-), the same is so for tobacco.

When prices on legal products become prohibitively high (18 quid for a six-pack of Carlsberg, 65 quid for a bottle of single malt, 40 quid for rot-gut vodka, and then only 75cl, not a litre) people get innovative, and it also has the effect of turning normally law-abiding citizens into overnight criminals.

Alcohol concern is a fake-charity, which receives ludicrous sums of money from the Gov in grants, to provide said Gov with false figures about drinking, to give the Gov an excuse to tax us more.

Tingey - You're a ligtweight, sir :-) That sounds like a reasonable Saturday night!

28 December 2011 at 15:59  
Blogger Curmudgeon said...

@Marie1797 - we already have about the third highest alcohol duties in the EU. Statistics show that the inflation-adjusted price of drink has steadily increased over the years. In what meaningful way can alcoholic drinks be considered cheap in 2011 Britain?

It's also worth pointing out that, under minimum pricing, the additional revenue goes to the retailers and producers, not to the government.

28 December 2011 at 16:06  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Mr Curmugeon 16:06

That might well be so Mr Curmugeon, but we have the worst problem drinkers in the EU.

Why even the expats in south west France where local wine is dirt cheap I see this. When visiting my friends in the Languedoc the French pop into their local vineyard to fill up a couple of bottles of wine, 90p a bottle, the Brits pull up in their 4x4 and buy up industrial quantities. Something needs to temper the appetite. I don't see how all the additional revenue should all go to the retailers and producers. A third each surely.

28 December 2011 at 17:19  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

About time we adults were left to get on with our lives without the nannying. If people drink too much and die early, hard bloody luck. Let them go, it’s their lookout. Anyway, if it wasn’t for alcoholics, you’d put a lot of liver transplant types out of work. Out of the bad comes good. While we’re on the subject of knocking off early, who wants to spend their dotage in a nursing home, in a semi gaga state, lying in their own filth, ignored and robbed blind by the staff. And that’s if you’re LUCKY to get a nursing home place at all. Tell that to the kids yet to be born and they wouldn’t believe you…

28 December 2011 at 17:29  
Blogger English Viking said...


If the Gov enforce price increases which are not brought about by cost increases, the retailers and/ or the suppliers will make more money, which will attract more Corporation Tax.

The Gov will make shed-loads to spend on Pakistan's nuclear programme and abortions, all in the name of protecting humanity from itself, because they are infinitely more wise than us proles, don'tcha know?

YG When you can so obviously see that Cameron is a useless liar, and regularly point out these facts, why do you still hope for a Tory Gov?

How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?

How can you have a Tory Gov, if there is no Tory party?

28 December 2011 at 17:31  
Blogger English Viking said...

Mr Tinkles,

No, YOU'RE wrong there, sir.

Dr Richard Smith and Dr David Barker, both members of the Royal College of Physicians, and members of the panel headed by that body that was charges with finding 'safe limits' have both admitted that there was and indeed is no signnificant data which can be used to ascertain such limits and that the amount they came up with was, and I quote, '...a guess'.

They have also admitted feeling pressured into coming up with something, both politically and financially, not least because they were being paid rather handsomely.

The main problem with arbritrary limits is that people are all different. A big, heavy man, accustomed to drinking regularly can obviously drink much more than a small man who likes a small sherry at Christmas, a scientific studies DO prove that regular drinkers process alcohol far more effeciently than occassional tipplers.

Bottoms up!

28 December 2011 at 17:51  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Agreed Viking. Drink maximums are bullshit for a healthy adult. Seems to be a ‘hangover’ from puritan days. Wouldn't have happened if the country stayed with Rome, what !

28 December 2011 at 17:58  
Blogger Oswin said...

Inspector: our local care/nursing home is an annexe of the Percy Arms Hotel. Residents have a choice of bars and eat restaurant food. Drunk or demented, who can tell, come last orders! It's the only way to go, in my opinion.

28 December 2011 at 18:10  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

I suppose if alcoholic beverages are priced out of people's pockets then they will be tempted to seek other more dangerous and lesser known props. At least the dangers of alcohol are well known
and documented.

28 December 2011 at 18:17  
Blogger Jay said...

Are we proles still to be expected to subsidise HOC bars?

28 December 2011 at 18:25  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Oswin. Now that’s ‘care for the elderly’ ! Kind of place where you put your name down for when in still in your forties no doubt...

Marie. There was a time when floor polish and brake fluid did the trick for the desperate... (though a difficult job for the blender one would think...)

Jay. They can even smoke there apparently. Royal palace, so the anti smoking laws don't apply, the damn hypocrites...

28 December 2011 at 18:46  
Blogger Sam Vega said...

carl jacobs

Many thanks for your contribution today. They are always worth reading. Do you have your own blog?

28 December 2011 at 19:02  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

I wasn't talking about household cleaning products and paint strippers, more like other little known chemical substances or even class A and B drugs.

28 December 2011 at 19:07  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Marie. Rather have the idea that anyone who would consider using class A, B and C drugs are already doing so. They even have the gall to use drug intoxication as a defence now in court on some other charge. Hopeless losers the lot of them. Every now and then a pure batch of heroin gets onto the streets and is mistaken for the cut stuff. These wasters start dropping like flies, and less cars get broken into and fewer houses burgled in that area for a short while afterwards. heh heh.

28 December 2011 at 19:33  
Blogger non mouse said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

28 December 2011 at 19:34  
Blogger non mouse said...

Why, Your Grace! Don't you just love the way Antichrist works?

.... Undermine education and thereby subvert the morality underlying all institutions (but make the people pay tax to foreigners).

...Having gradually destroyed the ability to produce anything or sustain any industry, flood the place with foreigners who don't know how to do anything but take all the jobs anyway (and make the people pay even more tax to foreigners).

... When the people are so depressed and demoralized that work of any kind isn't worth the bother, supply them with addictive 'opiates,' and take everything they have while they're confused or unconscious (and collect more tax for foreigners).

[[[... Once the place is one massive heap of pickled people, the foreigners'll just have to print more money....]]]

PS: There won't be any extra tax on things like cocaine, will there --- I mean they're illegal, aren't they? Anyway, presumably they keep the 'useful idiots' happy and confused' [while they collect more tax for foreigners].

28 December 2011 at 19:41  
Blogger bluedog said...

Your Grace, if Dave understood economics he would realise that by raising the taxes on booze he is just creating a business opportunity for criminal entrepreneurs. Your communicant predicts that home brew and illegal production of alcohol will soar.

Mr Avi Barzel may be able to bring us up to date with Canada's biggest export to the United States, which at one point was hydroponically grown marihuana. Done any cross-border runs recently, Avi?

28 December 2011 at 20:39  
Blogger Manfarang said...

Carl J
"As the growing Asian economies really start to bite into western standards of living"
The growing Asian economies provide a big market for western economies.Plenty of thirsty people waiting for bottles of Johnny Walker and Jim Beam.I would sell some Bushmills myself but its all the devils milk.

28 December 2011 at 21:02  
Blogger Larks Tongues in Aspic said...

" there is an overwhelming need to escape from a home of tedium, depression or abuse."

Presumably tedium, depression and abuse are not classless diseases, then?

28 December 2011 at 21:10  
Blogger Manfarang said...

" there is an overwhelming need to escape from a home of tedium, depression or abuse."
Since alcohol is a depressant, drinking is hardly likely to be an escape.

28 December 2011 at 21:23  
Blogger non mouse said...

Manfarang @21:23-- Since alcohol is a depressant, drinking is hardly likely to be an escape.
Well when I tried it, I just used to fall asleep.

So I suspect that, like any other opiate, it's probably just desensitizing. In the long term, as with smoking, the path is clearly suicidal.

28 December 2011 at 21:34  
Blogger Dodo the Katholikos Dude said...

"Through early morning fog I see
visions of the things to be
the pains that are withheld for me
I realize and I can see...

That suicide is painless
It brings on many changes
and I can take or leave it if I please.

I try to find a way to make
all our little joys relate
without that ever-present hate
but now I know that it's too late, and...


The game of life is hard to play
I'm gonna lose it anyway
The losing card I'll someday lay
so this is all I have to say.


The only way to win is cheat
And lay it down before I'm beat
and to another give my seat
for that's the only painless feat.


The sword of time will pierce our skins
It doesn't hurt when it begins
But as it works its way on in
The pain grows it grin, but...


A brave man once requested me
to answer questions that are key
'is it to be or not to be'
and I replied 'oh why ask me?'

'Cause suicide is painless
it brings on many changes
and I can take or leave it if I please.
...and you can do the same thing if you choose."


28 December 2011 at 23:36  
Blogger English Viking said...


Alcohol is a depressant in medical terms.

It supresses the central nervous system - ie it slows heart rate, reaction time, brain function and, most importantantly - breathing.

Clinical depression is a side-effect in only a really small sample of abusers.

Have you any medical qualifications?

Be careful now, I'll find you out if you fib.

28 December 2011 at 23:48  
Blogger Dodo the Katholikos Dude said...

I'm glad you cleared up that common misunderstanding about the differeance between depressants and depressives. It's unlikely alcohol causes depression; it merely reinforces it.

Happy drinking!

29 December 2011 at 01:42  
Blogger Dodo the Katholikos Dude said...

Inspector said ...

"There was a time when floor polish and brake fluid did the trick for the desperate..."

Of course our friends in the homosexual 'community' first discovered the 'joys' of drinking commercial solvents and fluids as sexual stimulants and they then spread as 'date rape' drugs. Wonderful!

29 December 2011 at 01:49  
Blogger Dodo the Katholikos Dude said...


That reminds me - there were 40 million prescriptions issued for anti-depressants in England and Wales last year, costing mega bucks.

What's going on that we need to dull the pain of modern living in alcohol, drug, food addiction and sex addictions?

29 December 2011 at 01:57  
Blogger English Viking said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

29 December 2011 at 02:47  
Blogger James Reade said...

Anything constructive to say, instead of simply carping from the sidelines?

I should say I totally agree that price fixing is not the answer. But what is? Such social ills are clearly an outpouring of a fallen and sinful world.

I'm also fairly sure that the instinct to fix aspects of the market is not restricted to socialism, your pet hate.

But it may be that some kind of "fixing" may actually work as a second best solution in a fallen world. Restricting the amount of paracetamol folk can buy in one go affects decisions at the margin, and hence it may be that fixing the price does affect things at the margin.

29 December 2011 at 03:39  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Sam Vega

Thank you for your kind words. I have a weblog, but I don't pay much attention to it. Never really considered that anyone would read it.


29 December 2011 at 05:27  
Blogger Sam Vega said...

carl jacobs

Just found your blog - as indeed I should have been able to do before with a modicum of searching!

Keep writing, sir!

29 December 2011 at 10:39  
Blogger Dodo the Katholikos Dude said...

Good to see you adopting a more civilised approach in the forum! Like you I'm getting bored with the same old guff being endlessly repeated on here. Apart from one or two bloggers, and I don't count myself amongst them, people seem to have fixed views and we just go around in circles. Protestants attack Catholics; Christians attack atheists; Jews and Christians and the odd Arab dance around trying not to be offensive - and vice versa. Im can understand why you want to liven it all up with outrageous comment.

Anyway, have a good New Year and don't KBO, in the Churchillian sense of the term of course!

29 December 2011 at 11:19  
Blogger English Viking said...


Surely I should KBO?

I'm very flimsy, and swing from one mood to another quite easily, but I am trying to be good. ;-)

29 December 2011 at 14:42  
Blogger Oswin said...

Dodo @ 11:19

''...people seem to have fixed views and we just go around in circles...''

What galloping hypocrisy! Either that, or you have at long last, bored yourself into humility; or is it down to the 'seasonal drink' perhaps?

Few here, are quicker to condemn any new, or interesting idea/possibility than yourself.

29 December 2011 at 17:04  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Pay attention class, and get the tambourines out. Afterwards, the ‘pledge’ will be passed round for signing. Altogether now, one, two, three…

I've done a lot of laughing
and a little bit of crying
I've been a lot of places
And made a mess of friends
Got wedded to the whisky
Should've been a good woman
If I could re-live my days
Changing my ways
I'd not touch' a drop again

By the devil I was tempted
And many jugs I've emptied
I felt so rejected
I didn't wanna go astray
Half my life has been awasted
By the booze I've tasted
But the demon I have faced it
And sent him on his way

I hope I'll be forgiven
For all my bad livin'
I had to make some changes
'Fore he got me in the end
Now I've got a pretty woman
She gives me good lovin'
I can 't re-live all my days
in a different way
But I won't go astray again

By the devil I was tempted
And many jugs I've emptied
I felt so rejected
I didn't wanna go astray
Half my life has been awasted
By the booze I've tasted
But the demon I have faced it
And sent him on his way

29 December 2011 at 17:43  
Blogger Dodo the Katholikos Dude said...

Oswin said ...

"Few here, are quicker to condemn any new, or interesting idea/possibility than yourself."

Now, if you read what I actually wrote you'll have noted (or not)

"Apart from one or two bloggers, and I don't count myself amongst them, ... "

Is this little personal outburst all 'cos I dismissed your silly Celtic fantasy?

29 December 2011 at 19:48  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Dodo. The Inspector feels honoured that you consider him amongst the ‘one or two’. Good show that chap...

29 December 2011 at 19:54  
Blogger Dodo the Katholikos Dude said...

You might think that, I couldn't possibly comment.

29 December 2011 at 23:09  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Dodo. Poor show that bird. But do carry on...

29 December 2011 at 23:12  
Blogger Dodo the Katholikos Dude said...


Saving you from yourself old boy.

Besides, to comment positively on you would be seen by "some" as a denominational bias - 3 spring to mind and strangely they all own cats. In fact your gravitas might diminish as a result.

Besides, like me, you do have fixed views on certain important matters.

30 December 2011 at 00:06  
Blogger Oswin said...

Dodo @ 19:48: nope, it's because you're a hypocritical ar*e h*le, whatever the season.

30 December 2011 at 00:38  
Blogger Dodo the Katholikos Dude said...


My, my!

What's up? Didn't Father Christmas bring you that longed for toy you wrote and asked for c/o Glastonbury?

30 December 2011 at 00:58  
Blogger Dodo the Katholikos Dude said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

30 December 2011 at 00:59  
Blogger Manfarang said...

English Viking
"Clinical depression is a side-effect in only a really small sample of abusers."

Can you give me the source of that information?

There are about half a million alcoholics in Britain.Is that enough for you?

30 December 2011 at 06:33  
Blogger tory boys never grow up said...

"So a professing Conservative free-marketeer in coalition with a professing Liberal proponent of equality seek to adopt a Socialist mechanism to interfere with market prices which will disproportionately hit the poorest in society"

Strangely enough we didn't here this argument from Cranmer when VAT was being increased. However, in the main I agree with Cranmer that is a problem of society, and as a socialist I believe that not all societies problems can be addressed through use of the price mechanism.

30 December 2011 at 10:16  
Blogger English Viking said...


500,000 alkys in the UK?

I'll try your game - source please.


Hope the cat comment wasn't aimed at me. Gem-Gem would not be pleased.

30 December 2011 at 10:36  
Blogger Dodo the Katholikos Dude said...

My comment was not a criticism of cats or cats owners, merely an observation. Give Gem Gem a tummy tickle from me to make amends.

I don't know how to do links but have a look at this one concerning alcohol and depression. It's a starter for ten. I'm not a great fan of the State intervening too heavily in these matters, although I do support widespread disemination of information. It has to be borne in mind that we all pay as citizens for the expense of alcoholism.

30 December 2011 at 11:20  
Blogger Dodo the Katholikos Dude said...

Yes - from earlier I did mean you should KBO!

30 December 2011 at 11:23  
Blogger David B said...

I agree with HG.

And G. Tingey.

I understand that alcohol use in moderation increases life expectancy, and as the drinking level goes up life expectancy does not fall below the teetotal rate until consumption exceeds a bottle of wine a day.

My most recent source for this was an edition of QI, but I think I came across figures suggesting this before seeing the QI.

David B

30 December 2011 at 12:12  
Blogger Dodo the Katholikos Dude said...

David B
One one goes past a bottle of wine a day, who cares? ... hic ...

30 December 2011 at 15:23  
Blogger English Viking said...


Her tummy has indeed been tickled, but she is not easily swayed.

Apparently there is a demand for salmon!

BTW A prettier cat you'd never wish to see, apart from Petal, of course.

30 December 2011 at 16:17  
Blogger English Viking said...

Dodo @ 15:23

I'm doing well if I restrict myself to a single bottle of scotch a day.

A bottle of wine? A BOTTLE OF WINE?

It's like mouthwash, only good for the ladies.

PS WV = worsaga. No, really.

30 December 2011 at 16:20  
Blogger English Viking said...

Hey Dodo,

Poor old Petal.

Here's to her!

30 December 2011 at 16:25  
Blogger Dodo the Katholikos Dude said...

Too early in the day for me to join you in a proper toast - couple of Irish in the evening is sufficient. And you, if you'll excuse my saying so, appear to have started rather early!

Here's to Petal and Bless her! I'm pleased Gem Gem accepted her tickle, even if somewhat reluctantly she wants fuller recompense by way of salmon. Females, eh!

30 December 2011 at 17:08  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Dodo. Yes, definite connection there. Outspoken Protestants and cats (…or ‘familiars’ if the cats have gone over to the Devil, as they are wont to do…). Worthy of further investigation you know. This is definitely going in the Inspector’s black book...

30 December 2011 at 17:32  
Blogger English Viking said...


You just want to look at my third nipple, don't you?

30 December 2011 at 17:51  
Blogger English Viking said...


You make me laugh.


I never stopped!

30 December 2011 at 17:52  
Blogger Dodo the Katholikos Dude said...

Ummm ... read those articles I posted references to, especially the one on mental health and alcohol.

Talking of the 'dark side', what do you think has happened to our protagonists of late? Do you think they might be cavorting some where in the woods?

30 December 2011 at 18:02  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Dodo. That E(xtra) S(ensistive) Bloe and then Dribbles chappie is happily missing. However, last time the Inspector enquired about him, he appeared !

Len is hibernating beneath a ton of kitchen waste. Spud peelings and old teabags mainly...

30 December 2011 at 18:26  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Ooig @30 December 2011 18:26

Always watching Lad. Tsk.

Ernst never thought he would state this but;
there is better on telly at the moment than reading the pompous gibberish spouted by some (you know who you are, dickie!) on this august blog and the humour no better than a blog christmas cracker joke stand up contest.

Ernst hopes he is never that desperate to blog that quality becomes an irrelevance!

Ernst will wait until something of a strong matter is posted by His Grace.

Hope you have all had a merry Christmas and wishing you all a wonderful 2012. Special thoughts to our lads and lasses serving abroad at this special family time.



Ernst 'the non smoker for 4 days' Blofeld. ;-P


Dodo (...protagonists of late?)

Protagonist - A leading or principal figure. The leader of a cause; a champion.

Dear lad, unless you have suddenly given your heart to Ernsty and Tiddles, We believe you mean to state 'antagonists'.

Tiddles says Hi, Dodo. : )

30 December 2011 at 20:01  
Blogger English Viking said...

ESB + T,

Your very good health, sir.


I'm way past all that rot.

30 December 2011 at 20:20  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Good grief, it's Blofeld. It’s like summonsing the Devil himself. Puts a chap on edge you know, your sudden apparition like that...

What’s all this about giving up smoking at your age – that will have you in your box before you can say ‘health benefits’. Best get your pipe out old chap, when matron isn’t around, of course...

30 December 2011 at 20:32  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...


Ernsty likes to keep you chappies on yer toes.

"What’s all this about giving up smoking at your age" Ernst has had a fair knock with the baccy but now maybe the best time to stop.

When you cough so much you produce your left lung out of the corner of your mouth like a magicians pocket or have to run to the lavvy because a slight muffled cough has produced a slippery tortoise head that threatens to do a shawshank redemption on you, perhaps it is time to retire gracefully from the cigar crease.


'Skål' to you my fine chap and hope gem gem is giving you the love and comfort you were sorely missing after the loss of your Petal.


30 December 2011 at 20:50  
Blogger Dodo the Katholikos Dude said...

Antagonists - indeed. Thank you.

I do hope you come to your senses at some point. I know its difficult, what with the dementia and all, but do keep focusing.

Have a good New Year.

Its the Devil's own influence the man possesses!

30 December 2011 at 20:58  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Blofeld. They do say Tortoise head soup is similar to oxtail. What’s your opinion...

30 December 2011 at 21:50  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

That's a lot of whisky you consume, a bottle a day is a bit of a problem? What do your family think? So maybe if the price of malt doubled would you not consume so much? I think everyone has their price they are prepared to pay for something.

Great to hear you got new cat.

30 December 2011 at 22:53  
Blogger English Viking said...

ESB + T,

She tries, but there'll never be another Petal.

Thank you for you kind regards anyway.


Yes, I am what most would call an alcoholic, although I do control it quite well.

I cannot operate without liquor, so when I've had a bit, I just tend to look normal - it stops all the shaking and feeling sick thing.

In answer to your question, if scotch doubled in price I would either make it myself or buy hooch from the Polish dude next door.

BTW I have 11 cats, but none like Petal.

Bless you.

31 December 2011 at 01:31  
Blogger Manfarang said...

English Viking
Cabinet Office Strategy Unit. September 2003.

31 December 2011 at 16:09  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Oh dear Viking, ever thought about giving it up and going to rehab for the sake of your family and your cats? The answers are never found at the bottom of bottle of booze you know.

31 December 2011 at 17:41  
Blogger English Viking said...


I'm not a nasty drunk, so my family don't suffer. I like to drink on my own.

High-functioning, I believe is the term.

31 December 2011 at 18:18  
Blogger English Viking said...


They tried to make me go to re-hab, but I said 'No,no,no.'


31 December 2011 at 20:17  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

:-) And you know what happened to her!
Still, if that's your chosen way of life make sure you have enough money left in your bank account to pay for your hospital care when your vital organs start to conk out. End of lecture. How's the new cat getting on today?

31 December 2011 at 20:51  
Blogger English Viking said...

Hey Marie,

She's just fine. Really furry, just how I like 'em!

I'm kind of hoping to go down in a blaze of glory, and not waste away in some shitty, necrotic, MRSA filled piss-pit that passes for a hospital nowadays. I think the ticker will give up before the liver, which appears to be of olympian standard. I had a blood test recently, specifically to check liver function. Doc says it's fine. Kidneys are a bit ropey though, but you can't have everything, eh? Blood pressure is off the scale, but a red face kind of suits me, don't you think?

When it comes (Death always comes, no matter what) I think it will be more of a relief than anything.

If I don't die of boredom first.

BTW Amy died because she stopped drinking.

Shock to the system.

Good grief, who wouldn't be shocked without scotch?

31 December 2011 at 21:16  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

The Inspector lost his hamster today in a nasty accident, he fell asleep at the wheel !

31 December 2011 at 22:12  
Blogger English Viking said...


Are you taking the piss?

Probably best not to.

31 December 2011 at 22:42  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Viking, Inspector not thinking old man. He’s, well, pickled right now, can barely see you know {AHEM}

31 December 2011 at 23:20  
Blogger English Viking said...


Oh. Well that's OK then, fully understandable.

Happy New Year.

1 January 2012 at 09:27  

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