Alcohol-fuelled unity

The four main parties jointly lobbied the DSD Minister not to liberalise Northern Ireland’s licensing laws, in particular allowing corner shops to sell alcohol.

  • Pete Baker

    “in particular allowing corner shops to sell alcohol.”

    FD

    The reality is any shop [corner or otherwise] selling alcohol would be subject to the new regulations including the strengthening of powers to revoke a licence, powers welcomed by, for example, Jeffrey Donaldson:

    Mr Donaldson conceded there were elements within the government`s proposals which were welcome, including the provision of extra powers for the police to help them identify and tackle irresponsible suppliers of alcohol.

    What the lobby group is really interested in preventing is revealed in this line in the linked PA report:

    According to the MPs 98% of people who responded to the consultation were opposed to the abolition of the licence surrender principle which in effect caps the number of licenses available.

    Capping the number of licences means the market is kept closed, and the potential competition kept to a minimum… now, why would representatives of the [current] licensed trade oppose that…

  • aquifer

    So the drug dealers can continue to offer their alternatives at all hours. Is this the state funding initiate the UDA were promised?

  • The People’s Front of Judea

    I’d hoped that continuing direct rule might clear up some of the backward anomalies in the pravance’s laws.

    If NI is to be part of the UK then let’s enjoy the benefit of legislation befitting a modern liberal democracy.

    They don’t chain the swings up anymore (or do they?!) and every little step towards grown-up laws is to be welcomed.

  • Totally right, it’s just f**king typical that the only time the 4 main parties can actually agree on something they get it totally wrong.

    Time the lot of them left the dark ages.

  • kuraaka

    Or time for the lot of them to be left in the dark ages.

  • Crataegus

    The biggest drug problem we have is alcohol and it would seem it is a growing problem. I am far from sure that this is the way to go; booze to you drop Britain. I wonder how much this one is worth to the drinks industry?

  • Bemused

    How fucking dare these neanderthal cu nts tell me when, where and how I can purchase alcohol. What fucking business is it of theirs? I’m an adult, I pay my taxes – end of story. They’d be far better off spending their energies and resources dealing with the filth who can’t behave when drunk.

  • Crataegus

    Bemused

    How dare these Neanderthals tell me when, where and how I can purchase alcohol.

    How dare they tell you you can’t shot up, bonk in public, smoke all over people and drive at a safe speed?

    Was watching end of Brazil game and immediately after it two booze ads obviously aimed at adolescence or the immature. This is at 6pm.

    One of the good things about Muslims is their attitude to Alcohol.

  • The People’s Front of Judea

    Bemused – spot on.

    I hate the way that the permanently raging mob can dictate the terms of my leisure time.

    The recent liberalisation of licensing hours in England was a long overdue but very welcome step in the right direction. If I want a drink at any time it’s my business, and doesn’t become anyone else’s unless I start behaving anti-socially.

    The fact that when I’m home it’s a shot in the dark as to when the pubs will shut, and I end up at parties where shady characters deliver booze round the clock is a ridiculous state of affairs.

    Is it really only possible for the fukwits we elect to agree on reactionary nonsense like this?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Crataegus: “How dare they tell you you can’t shot up, bonk in public, smoke all over people and drive at a safe speed? ”

    They tell you you can’t drive at a safe speed? WHAT A COUNTRY!

    Yakov Smirnoff impressions aside, all Bemused wants is to be able to pop off down to the corner store and get his alcohol. The closed nature of the market limits competition and threatens to make obtaining a license a matter of political patronage, a circumstance that does not favor the populace.

    Crataegus: “One of the good things about Muslims is their attitude to Alcohol. ”

    Sure… now if their wasn’t all that repression, ignorance, hand-cutting, honor-killing, infidel threatening self importance, not to mention occasionally getting the notion in their heads to blow something up…

  • Bemused

    Bemused

    How dare these Neanderthals tell me when, where and how I can purchase alcohol.

    “How dare they tell you you can’t shot (sic) up, bonk in public, smoke all over people and drive at a safe speed?

    Was watching end of Brazil game and immediately after it two booze ads obviously aimed at adolescence or the immature. This is at 6pm.

    One of the good things about Muslims is their attitude to Alcohol.”

    Dear oh dear, where do you start with this?

    1. What the hell is wrong with ‘shot up’? Again, I’m an adult, I pay my taxes, I should be able to ram a particularly mature piece of Camembert up my arse if I feel like it. Plainly though I shouldn’t be allowed to do this in a public place or other circumstance in which I might offend, harm or annoy others.

    2. ‘Bonk in public’??? See 1. above.

    3. ‘Smoke all over people’??? See 1. above.

    4. Aiming alcohol advertising at children? Quite wrong and should be prohibited and robustly enforced.

    5. ‘One of the good things about Muslims is their attitude to alcohol’??? Not even worthy of comment I’m afraid.

    In short – I’ll do what I want, you do what you want, now stay the fuck away from me.

  • Crataegus

    Dread Cthulhu

    Too many G&T’s

    As for Muslims, I choose one of their better qualities and you some of the more problematic aspects, but who would steal in Saudi Arabia. Fund a terrorist organisation yes, but make of with your neighbours donkey, (in whatever sense) NO.

  • Gum

    “Sure… now if their wasn’t all that repression, ignorance, hand-cutting, honor-killing, infidel threatening self importance, not to mention occasionally getting the notion in their heads to blow something up…”

    You were being sarcastic here Dread, right?

  • Betty Boo

    I fail to see the logic between more shops selling alcohol at longer hours and the consumption of it.
    If you want to drink yourself senseless, it makes not really a difference if you can get the stuff around the corner or three streets up the road or if you do it 5pm or 5am. The result is pretty much the same.

  • “typical that the only time the 4 main parties can actually agree on something they get it totally wrong.”

    Why did they get it totally wrong. Just curious, how can MORE access to alcohol be a good thing when alcohol is already causing huge problems in our societies?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Gum: “You were being sarcastic here Dread, right? ”

    Depends on which direction you think the sarcasm was pointed, Gum. Are you suggesting Islam has none of those problems?

    Crataegus: “Too many G&T’s ”

    *grin*

    Crataegus: “As for Muslims, I choose one of their better qualities and you some of the more problematic aspects, but who would steal in Saudi Arabia. Fund a terrorist organisation yes, but make of with your neighbours donkey, (in whatever sense) NO. ”

    Is it one of their “better qualities,” I wonder? The Prophet only forbade the drinking of wine made from dates. It is later killjoys that have forbade any alcohol. Likewise, there are those who steal in Saudi Arabia, else why would there needs be a reference to it in AI’s annual reports, just like clockwork?

  • Betty Boo

    “Why did they get it totally wrong. Just curious, how can MORE access to alcohol be a good thing when alcohol is already causing huge problems in our societies?”
    Because the access to it is not the problem, Maca.

  • duffy

    Apart from all that, it is a significant development that the four parties have acted together, that a DUP MP has (from a unionist perspective) given legitimacy to SF and that by implication, SF is happy to be associated with comments which refer to Northern Ireland and “the rest of the UK”? Surely this is a trailer for things to come.

  • Betty Boo
    “They cautioned that pressing ahead with liberalisation proposals could result in every corner shop being able to sell drink.”

    So what IS the problem?

  • Betty Boo

    “…it is a significant development that the four parties have acted together, that a DUP MP has (from a unionist perspective) given legitimacy to SF…”
    In vino veritas
    Couldn’t resist.

    Maca, the individual use of items available is the problem not the availability as such.
    Food is available everywhere and a high percentage of the Irish population choose to overindulge and as a result grows fatter and fatter to such amount that children may die before their parents.

  • BB
    Aye, maybe it’s not THE problem but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong to tackle the issue of availability.

  • Betty Boo

    But Maca, why tackle the issue of availability, if it doesn’t matter? You do not increase nor decrease alcohol related problems and behaviour towards its use by increasing or decreasing its availability. If we would have one supermarket where I live instead of 5 plus, people would still eat as much as they do now.

  • duffy

    Are any of these parties allegedly associated with alchohol smuggling?

  • BB
    “why tackle the issue of availability, if it doesn’t matter?”

    In your opinion it doesn’t matter, I think it does matter. If kids have far easier access to beer doncha think that matters?

  • Pete Baker

    maca

    The point is that the proposed legislation doesn’t affect the availability in the way claimed by the lobby group – of current licensed traders.

    In fact the political element of the delegation welcomed “the provision of extra powers for the police to help them identify and tackle irresponsible suppliers of alcohol.”

  • Pete
    If it’s as you say, how have 4 political parties managed to misunderstand the potential effetcs of legislation?

    Also, if more licences will be made available isn’t it logical to assume ordinary shops will get some of those?

  • Crataegus

    Dread Cthulhu

    The Prophet only forbade the drinking of wine made from dates.

    Wise man; would you drink any such concoction? Reminds me of homemade fig and banana back in student days. An unforgettable night.

    As for the Koran and religious teachings not my expertise and like all such has probably been grievously interpreted over the centuries.

    “O you who believe! Strong drink and games of chance and idols and divining arrows are only an infamy of Satan’s handiwork. Leave it aside in order that ye may succeed.” (5. Al Ma’ idah: 90).

    This is advising to leave aside to succeed and sound advice, but Satan’s handiwork is a strong warning.

    “And from the fruit of the palm and the grapes, you get out wholesome drink and food: behold, in this also is a sign for those who are wise (Yusuf Ali).

    Does this mean grape juice?

    and

    “They question you about strong drink and games of chance. Say: In both is great abuse and usefulness for mankind; but the abusive side of them is greater than their usefulness.” (2. Al-Baqarah :219).

    To me it seems fair enough and not the extreme impression one is given. Muslims follow a religion which is fundamentally for peace, mercy, and forgiveness, and the majority of Muslims have nothing to do with the extremely grave events which have come to be associated with their faith.

    I have always found them polite and respectful and have a bit of self pride. They are a pleasure to do business with once you get past the bartering. However trying to buy a bit of land of an Irish horse dealer is a different problem altogether, followed by the builder who pays his workers in the local pub, Monday the workforce hung over, by Friday the shakes are setting in.

    Our culture has a problem with alcohol and it seems at times as though we are in a state of denial.

  • Pete Baker

    maca

    you have a wonderful, if I may say misplaced, confidence in the ability of the political parties to seek the common good.

    As for the availability.. if you believe the current system means that availability is a problem then resisting change in the legislation, when even those politicians who also resist it point to the benefits it brings in tackling irresponsible suppliers [the problem in availability], doesn’t make any sense.

  • Crataegus

    Pete

    You could of course increase the powers of the Police without changing anything else? Why not try getting the existing in order before potentially widening the problem?

  • Pete
    “you have a wonderful, if I may say misplaced, confidence in the ability of the political parties to seek the common good.”

    It was merely a query.

    “if you believe the current system means that availability is a problem…”

    I simply have a problem with making something like alcohol easily available from any cornershop. Perhaps it’s just that i’m tired of seeing drunks falling over themselves in the park beside our gaff, especially the young tennage drunks who get their beer from the shops.

  • Pete Baker

    Crat/maca

    You both assume that the claims by the lobby group – of representatives of the current licensed traders – are correct. I’ve yet to see any evidence of that.

    What I do see is a threat to their closed market.. and their effectiveness in lobbying the political parties.

  • Pete
    That assumption is all I have to go on at the moment.

  • Crataegus

    Pete

    Whilst I have some sympathy for the licensed traders some of whom, within the existing system, have went to considerable cost to buy their licenses and go through all the legal rigmarole, my concern is the scale of the problem that already exists. It is so serious that I would prefer to exercise caution and introduce the control measures first to see if they work within the existing framework before proceeding further. What’s the hurry?

  • Pete Baker

    The licensed traders have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo.

    The liberalisation of the market for licensing has a clear benefit.. and then there’s the provision of extra powers for the police to help them identify and tackle irresponsible suppliers of alcohol – which has been welcomed even by the nay-sayers.

    There’s no hurry, Crat.. these are all sensible proposals.. unless the current licensed traders can show otherwise.

  • Both James Connolly and James Larkin prayed for the day the grass would grow over Guinness’ brewery. Former GAA presidents have decried Guinness sponsoring the beautiful game (of hurling)and have pointed to the road carnage it causes (Mick Loftus of Mayo being the most well known example). A&Es weekend nights are full of the casualties of drink. How many guys in jail would not have been there but for the drink getting out of hand? How many teenage unwanted pregnancies? Does Ireland need more Temple bars? Guess all the main 6 co parties are gombeen parties, adding the halpence to the pence. Duffy has explained SF’s approach pretty well though most of them are also very heavy users as well.

    The Irish are a disgrace with drink and are known for it. Also, the demise of the Christian Brothers has meant the demise of the Pledge. I was surprised the DUP rolled in on this one.

  • harlequin

    yet more evidence of how direct rule is preferable to handing control over to this bunch of jesters

  • pith

    What corner shops?

  • abbey normal

    Sickening.

    And here was me thinking we might at least be moving towards a culture and night time economy on a par with any normal European city.

    What do we have instead? Draconian, backward looking laws that permit a handful of fat-cat licence holders to further line their pockets and impede the proliferation of new venues, pubs and clubs which would allow belfast to be regarded as a worthwhile cultural destination.

    I mean, even the new Black Box arts venue in Belfast city centre has a big question mark over its drinks license and is being opposed by local publicans.

    I don’t want their pious backward looking nanny state.

  • Tochais Siorai

    Ireland has a problem with it’s drinking culture but I would suggest that a liberalisation of the drink laws in a certain way.

    Deregulate the pub industry completely – essentially let the market decide. This would result in far more smaller pubs opening at the expense of the Superpubs. In a smaller pub, the bar staff can see more of what’s going down (literally) and can see where problems are developing and can hip them in the bud. The superpubs are designed to get as much alcohol into people as possible and unless you’re completely off your tree you can drink as miuch of whatever mixture you want.

    Oh yeah and ban the sale of Red Bull in pubs, it prevents people from falling asleep when they’ve had enough. Instead people are able to keep drinking far beyond their limit and then are more likely to be up for a scrap.

    Can’t see it happening tho’, publicans lobby too powerful.

  • Moochin photoman

    abbey normal….

    the objections to the new arts venue Black Box did indeed come from the nearest publican. I’m led to believe that he was after a brown envelope that would have paved the way for a drinks license to go uncontested.
    His initial demands have since been dropped and thankfully it’s full steam(ing) ahead for the exciting addition to the cultural landscape.

  • Crataegus

    As a matter of interest does anyone know if Publicans get compensated for the loss of the value of the current Licence within the proposals? Many of them would loose an asset worth well in excess of £100,000 which they may be securing loans against.

    Certainly transferring responsibility from the Courts to the Councils would be welcome though I can thing of a few Barristers who would feel the pinch. I take it that is indeed part of these proposals.

    To outline the existing process necessary to open a new Pub. for anyone not familiar.

    1 Buy a subsisting clean License. £100,000
    2 Employ Architects to draw the pub and get Planning and Building Control
    approval. Say design team £30,000 on a scheme of £500,000 (very small)
    3 Go to court for the provisional grant of license. Legal fees £5000
    4 Build the Pub. And get all sorts of certificates. £500,000 plus fitting out.
    5 Go back into the Recorders Court for the full grant of license. Legal fees another £3000

    The above assumes there is no one in court to challenge the application then the legal fees can be considerably more.

    Much the same applies to restaurants only you don’t need to purchase a license, but you still have to go to Court.

    To add to the complications there are all sorts of late licenses and temporary licences, which I have never been able to phantom.

    There is no doubt that the whole structure is a mess, but we really need to make sure that the measures that are proposed for policing really do work.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Crataegus: “To me it seems fair enough and not the extreme impression one is given. Muslims follow a religion which is fundamentally for peace, mercy, and forgiveness, and the majority of Muslims have nothing to do with the extremely grave events which have come to be associated with their faith. ”

    Perhaps not directly, but a goodly number of the charities Muslims make their charitable donations have been found to support the groups performing “the extremely grave events.” Likewise, while they may not be doing them, surveys have indicated they sympathize with those who are committing these “events.” Likewise, their religion exhorts them to commit these act, as we live in “Dar-al-Harb,” and not “Dar-al-Islam.”

    Frankly, they need a Reformation… badly.

  • irishinuk

    Dread Cthulhu,

    They need a reformation? Hope it goes better than ours, what with the millions dead an’ all.
    They need an Enlightingment (or to realise that religion is a made up load of bull$hit).

  • Dread Cthulhu

    irishinuk: “They need a reformation? Hope it goes better than ours, what with the millions dead an’ all.
    They need an Enlightingment (or to realise that religion is a made up load of bull$hit). ”

    And, pray tell, what are the odds they get an Elightenment without a Reformation their religion which is stuck in the Dark Ages? I would say it would be somewhere between the Chance brothers…

  • Rory

    What a coincedence! I have just returned from a seance at my local Spitualist Church where we had the good fortune to be visited from the Other Side by Mr. Alfonso Capone, late of Chicago and Miami. Mr Capone was a successful entrepreneur during his time with us. He asks that we pass on his appreciation of Crataegus’s sound thinking on this subject. “We had prohibition in my time. Best Goddamned thing ever happened to the country. What kinda thugs would make boozing legal with all the violence and social misery that results. People like me we kept America peaceful, clean and sober. And anybody says different…..” (at this point Mr Capone’s voice faded and contact was lost.

  • Crataegus

    Dread Cthulhu

    They need a reformation?

    I think they have been through some sort of reformation or split hence the Ahl ul-Sunna which means tradition of the Prophet and Shi’a Muslims who are the fundamentalists and stick strictly to the teachings of the Prophet and his family.

    Like all these things the devil is in the interpretation men choose to convey and in NI we daily see the weakness of mans’ ability to be objective.

    Basically like all religious groups there are a few extremists, and we seem to wish to paint them all in that light. Christians have and have had a fair few worrying types in their midst.

    Any Muslims I have ever met are as cosmopolitan as you are likely to meet. Sooner be in their company than that of some of the inhabitants of NI. Those poor down trodden Loyalist/Republican types who just love to paint themselves in traditional colours and dust themselves off in ash whilst wailing, “woo is me.” They belong in the cast of Black adder.

    Muslins generally OK with me very honourable and the weakness of those I know is perhaps a tad too much pride. By the way they have some really interesting ways of transferring money around well worth looking into!

    Where were we alcohol derived from Arabic al-kuhul powdered antimony used as a cosmetic for darkening the eyelids. Alcohol then came to mean any substance obtained by sublimation. Time for an aperitif.

  • irishinuk

    DC,

    Aren’t all religions stuck in the dark ages? Its just that in the liberal west we now realise that the only reason we belive in our version of the god fantasy is that we were brainwashed as children.

    Anybody that belives that they were lucky enough to be thought the one true religion and that everyone else’s religion is wrong/invalid/evil etc is capable of behaving in a barbarous fashion.

    PS I think we’re using the words enlightenment and reformation to desribe the same mindset.

  • Crataegus

    Rory

    Hope you pass on my best wishes but I would remind you of my comments above;

    There is no doubt that the whole structure is a mess, but we really need to make sure that the measures that are proposed for policing really do work.

    I am not against reform what I would like is to ensure that the measures needed to effectively police it are in place and work. I don’t want to move into a situation where we sink to the lowest denominator.

    My main concerns are underage drinking, creating an environment that would encourage underage drinking, and a general denial that our society has a major problem with alcohol. Alcohol abuse costs the economy a fortune, lives ruined, families destroyed. George Best, Alex Higgins are typical of many many others. The turnover in clubs and bars in areas of multiple deprivation is appalling. Some one is paying and I think it is the families and in particular the children.

    Alcohol is our biggest drugs problem our culture revolves around the Pub and a pint.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Crataegus: ” think they have been through some sort of reformation or split hence the Ahl ul-Sunna which means tradition of the Prophet and Shi’a Muslims who are the fundamentalists and stick strictly to the teachings of the Prophet and his family. ”

    Leaving them stuck in, what, the 11th century? 12th, perhaps?

    Crataegus: “Basically like all religious groups there are a few extremists, and we seem to wish to paint them all in that light. Christians have and have had a fair few worrying types in their midst. ”

    Mayhaps, but Church of Latter-day Saints, last I checked, doesn’t have a militant wing, nor do the Episcopalians look upon those outside their religion as being unclean and need to be converted or destroyed. Likewise, it is more than a “fair few worrying types” trying to impose sharia in Africa and other parts or the world. Likewise, Wahabist Saudis seem to keep the terrorists coffers flush, regardless of the mewling of their princes.

    Crataegus: “Any Muslims I have ever met are as cosmopolitan as you are likely to meet. ”

    Anecdotal evidence at best, and mileage may vary. I went to college with a couple Afghani jihadists, back when they were receiving aid from the West… Made the obligitory “what I did on my summer-vacation” essays they did in their “English as a second language” classes interesting editing jobs. Likewise, their attitudes toward homework, female professors and teaching assistants and no few other topics were problematic. Should I not, by your arguement, base my opinion on the one’s I know personally, as well? How shall we split the difference where our experiences differ?

    irishinuk: “Aren’t all religions stuck in the dark ages? Its just that in the liberal west we now realise that the only reason we belive in our version of the god fantasy is that we were brainwashed as children.

    Ah, the dubious tolerance of the atheist… No greater fanatic than one of the converted.

    Irishinuk: “PS I think we’re using the words enlightenment and reformation to desribe the same mindset. ”

    Not really. The Protestant Reformation, while splitting the ‘catholic’ Church, did actually help the Roman Catholic Church rein in some of the uglier excesses of the Church. Islam has not had that period of self-examination as was caused by Luther and other theologians. The Enlightenment was more science and philosophical in the nature.

  • Crataegus

    Dread Cthulhu

    I think it’s a matter of socio-economic class and the country of origin. The ones I know tend to be Mediterranean types well educated, lecturers or business people and seem about as interested in a religious crusade as garden centre Unionists. Daughters and wives seem to be treated in Western fashion and some are running their own businesses.

    However where I agree with you is there are a substantial group of extremely evil people funding all sorts of vile schools that teach intolerance and bigotry. It is for political reasons. In this century Islam is the religion most abused by those from within. It has shifted to the right in the last few decades and in the long run it will suffer as a consequence. But when you read some of the threads on Slugger it must be evident that there is a fair measure of hate in this society, so we are perhaps not a lot better.

    Not my worry I’m no Muslim, but then perhaps I should worry?

  • Moochin photoman

    It’s hard to have much sympathy for the “Fat Cat Licencees” considering that they have artifically kept the prices at a premium level enabling them to continue to line their pockets. The price of a pint hovers around £2.65 mark (not even a city centre pub) which by any strectch of the imagination is a bit feckin steep. Whilst i have no evidence of it i feel that the prices have been set at a level that maintains a level of profit not seen over in “The Big Island” where many a pub in an attempt to keep and gain new custom keep the price of a pint down. The virtual monopoly that the licencee enjoy is to the detriment of our pockets and the benefit of theirs.

  • This is one of the worst examples of illiberal nanny-statism.

    The oft-used quote by the anti-liberalisation lobby is that 863 (98%) were opposed to the abolition of the licence surrender principal which in effect caps the number of liquor licenses available here, while only 18 (2%) were in favour of it.

    That is misleading- the only people who were likely to respond to the consultation in the first place were the ones who would lose the most- existing publicans. Most people were completely unaware of any consulation, and even if they were, were hardly likely to respond.

    We are faced with the ridiculous situation whereby licences cost around £250,000 in Belfast city centre, not to mention the cost of actually opening and running a pub. This prices anyone but the rich and corporate chains out of the market.

    For instance, in most areas of small business, people get experience then branch out on their own. This is practically impossible in the licensed trade- how can an experienced bar manager or hospitality graduate ever hope to have the money to open a simple pub?

    The FRLT have been campaigning heavily, claiming liberalisation would be ‘bad for business.’ The only business it would be bad for is that operated by a small monopolistic group of existing pub owners whose licence values have been kept artifically high by an archaic and anachronistic system. Opening the system will not only benefit business in the wider sense, but will also benefit the consumer who is currently paying exorbitant prices for drink to carry the burden of high licence costs.

    I can understand the DUP opposing the plans on the grounds of their Free Presbyterian rejection of all things alcoholic.

    But for the nationalist parties to fall in behind the views of a small interest group such as the FRLT, I am surprised. They represent a small number of presumably wealthy pub and club owners, and clearly put a spin on the situation to benefit their cause (and legitimately so) but politicans should realise that simply because there isn’t a ‘Federation of the non-retail unlicensed trade’ AKA people who would like to own a pub or sell drink from their shop, doesn’t mean that support for the plans doesn’t exist. Not to mention the general public who are being dictated to like children.

    Whether there is a drink problem or not, curtailing adults’ right to purchase alcohol and stifling organic business growth is not the way to address it. The focus should be on tackling those who abuse alcohol, not on those who want to pick up a six-pack from the shop round the corner as they could do in Britain.

    Instead of taking the word of monied interest groups at face value, political parties ought to think about what the actual public wants, and come up with suitable plans to address that.

    The FRLT are legitimately fighting their corner- politicians should be savvy enough to realise that this isn’t necessarily the corner of the voting adult public who perhaps don’t like having to pay ridiculous prices at impersonal superpubs.