In a rather worrying, if plain silly move, NSW Police this week have (allegedly) abused their powers with a wowserish plan that threatens the very freedom of everyday drinkers.
According to an email sent around to liquor outlets around the state, Police are asking for a ban on the sale of drinks over 4% before 2pm in amongst a raft of measures designed to limit the impacts of drinking on Australia Day (more information here).
Whilst this may sound like a rather ridiculous request at first (is this 4% alcohol on a standard drink? Where does wine fit in? Wouldn’t you just buy it the day before?) it is the pointy end of a frightening neo-prohibition movement that is gathering pace around the world.
Under pressure to clarify the request by a worried – and well connected – NSW drinks industry, NSW Police have issued followup advice stressing that this was only a voluntary move and was not enforceable (here).
Still, it begs the question, is this the thin edge of the wedge? Will the (fun) Police now attempt to control the sale of alcohol via even more heavy handed moves in the future?
Whatever it means, it is certainly bad news for any normal drinker who enjoys the odd glass of wine, beer or spirit (pity anyone that enjoyed the convenience of pre mixed spirits too, they are obviously misguided drunken teenagers, regardless of their age, and should be leveraged with a ridiculous tax for liking such a drink) as it represents a further impingement on our basic freedoms.
Ultimately, knee jerk reactions such as this will do absolutely nothing to actually prevent the issues associated with binge drinking, for it ignores the real core of the issue – poor social attitudes to alcohol consumption.