Parliament's Committee for Wankers, Wowsers and Bluestockings has finally returned its verdict on the Law Commission's proposal to hinder access to alcohol-fuelled fun and enjoyment for you and I and your dozen closest friends.
Want a good night out that goes on as long as the craic does? Want to fill your cocktail cabinet from the store down the street? Want to load up on beer as you load up on groceries?
To all these things, the Wowsers say “No!”
Like puritans everywhere, they’re agitated at the idea that someone, somewhere, might be having fun in a way for which they haven’t got a license. So in order to push back pleasure on all fronts, they've predictably tapped into existing competitive pressures to claim some kind of public support for their lemon-sucking.
They know that supermarkets would like to shut down local liquor sales, so they’ve joined supermarkets in trying to squash local liquor stores; they know that pub owners object to both, so they've joined with the Hospitality Association in trying to squash supermarket sales and local liquor shops; and they've joined with wowsers, bluestockings and the lemon-sucking lawyers at the Law Commission in trying to shut down drinking at any place at any time that’s after Geoffrey Palmer’s bedtime.
It's a rat's nest of self-interest harnessed for political effect, with no-one of sufficient volume to speak up for you and I who just want the freedom to enjoy ourselves—and virtually no-one at all to speak up for the owners of small local liquor shops who, since one of their number was murdered, have been taking it on the chin by virtually every political pressure group around, starting with the Prime Minister.
Neighbourhood liquor store owners selling to willing buyers appear to be the chief and easy scapegoat for every alleged social harm dreamed up by
the writers of fiction researchers, from bad driving to burglary to broken families to the failure of Hosea Gear to make the final All Black squad.
The quality of the arguments against them can be seen from their argument against small neighbourhood liquor stores—the opening, closing and distribution of which, say Parliamentarians, “should be up to communities to decide.” But local communities are already deciding those matters every single day. What these numb nuts appear never to have understood is how markets work, since in every important sense the opening, closing and distribution of every single retailer is already decided by the members of their communities, in their capacity as consumers.
The quality of other argument is no better, climaxing in the abortion of a so-called “economic report” commissioned by the Law lords on which the figures on the so-called social costs of alcohol are
pulled out of the researchers’ arses derived.
But neither facts nor sound reasoning are wanted here. Political self-interest is on the prowl, and when that’s allied to the puritanism of the lemon-suckers, we’ll all end up as losers.
I think I need a stiff drink, while I can still get one.