Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Happy Hour

Not for the first time, I find my self agreeing with the estimable Tom Paine of The Last Ditch. This time I am quoting him in full on the news that more than half of Britain's pubs banned happy hour promotions yesterday in a bid to combat binge drinking and antisocial behaviour.

Is it legal for a Government to influence trade associations to fix higher prices? If the French government was influencing a cartel of wine producers to indulge in anti-competitive practices, how would our Government react? Why is it any different for a cartel of publicans to agree not to offer discounts than it would be for a cartel of car dealers, lawyers or undertakers? Why should responsible, well-behaved drinkers pay more for their drinks because some idiots make fools of themselves when drunk?

Will someone please tell this Government that we are not its children?

Note also that for the next few days at least my reaction is entirely disinterested as I have had to foreswear the demon drink for a week while I am on a course of antibiotics after a visit to the dentist.

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