That’s the headline above this BBC report.
Two drink-free days a week needed, MPs’ report says.
People should have at least two days a week completely clear of alcohol, a group of MPs say.
It is one of the recommendations in a report by the Science and Technology Committee, which is calling for a review of all government guidelines on alcohol in the UK.
It says there are “sufficient concerns” about the recommendations on how much people should drink.
The report has been welcomed by charities and public health experts.
Only “guidelines” or “recommendations” for now, but next they’ll become laws. That’s the way it works these days.
I’ve been wondering how they were going to finally destroy the already-tottering pub industry, but now I think I can see how it will be done. Pubs won’t be able to sell alcohol for two days a week. And those days will be Fridays and Saturdays. And when the pubs fill up with drunkards on Sundays, knocking back twice their usual amount, the ban will be extended to Sundays as well. It’ll start off as a partial ban, and gradually become a total ban, salami slice by salami slice – just like with smoking bans.
It’ll be a “health measure”, of course, designed to “encourage” Britain’s drinkers to consume less alcohol. There’ll be a raft of studies showing that productivity might be boosted by between 2% and 5% or whatever. I can almost imagine the opinions and responses aired on TV:
“We’re not trying to ban alcohol or anything,” Jasmine Furnace of Alcohol Suppression will say, grinning brightly. “We’re just trying to help drinkers to consume a bit less, and live a lot longer. Did you know that 72% of drinkers would like to quit drinking?”
“It won’t affect the pub trade in the least,” she will add. “In fact, business will be better than ever. Because for all the traditional pubgoers who stop going, there’ll be an influx of mums and dads and kids and grannies to replace them on alcohol-free days. And anyway there’ll be the rest of the week for the winoes and drunkards.”
“I’m looking forward to it,” Edward Stark, landlord of the Happy Bunny, will say. “In fact I can’t wait. I’ll be able to watch telly with the wife on a Saturday night, rather than serve drinks to crowds of drunken customers.”
“I won’t mind a bit,” Jerry Muldoon will add, as he sits at the bar of the Happy Bunny with a pint of best. “We’ll just stand outside with the smokers. We already do most of the time anyway. So it’s hardly going to make any difference. I’ll just bring a hip flask.”
“It’ll be quite a party outside,” Mike Batty will opine, stood in a deep puddle of water outside the Happy Bunny, taking a last pull on a damp cigarette. “But it’s good to know that the government cares so much about the health of us smokers and drinkers, isn’t it? Positively warms the heart, it does.” And, as the rain drips from his nose, he’ll begin to roll another sodden cigarette.
Alcohol Concern chief executive Eric Appleby said: “Accessible and reliable public information on alcohol harm is an essential element in tackling Britain’s problem with alcohol misuse. However, the government must accept that information alone is insufficient.
“With the new alcohol strategy currently being developed, the government has the opportunity to confront alcohol harm on several fronts, including minimum price control and the empowerment of communities to control local licensing.“
In this manner, an ancient and convivial cultural institution will be finally destroyed. And that, after all, was always the goal.