Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Times are a changing.

A while back we did a post about our local experience of the decline of the great British pub which for readers from overseas is short for a public house or drinking place for consumption of  alcoholic beverages licensed by the state for this purpose and subject to state regulation.

The decline we noticed in 2009 has continued and accelerated locally to the point that many more pubs are now derelict and empty. Pundits say this is because the pubs cannot compete with the cost of local supermarket sold cheap alcoholic beverages and people are becoming more anti social and drinking at home while playing on their computers (and other things).

 In the recent past as we pilot our Ferraris on to all the needed home visits so freely provided by the Party we have noticed a flurry of building activity in a lot of the once empty and boarded up former large pubs. Can you guess who by?

The local temperance leagues moving in? Any willing providers of healthcare? The Salvation Army?

None of these but the major supermarkets who have gutted several former large public houses and are placing their little mini mes in them using such names as express or local. No doubt to supply the local population with more of their needs (food) and their wants (cheaper alcohol).

The any willing provider (AWP), or is it now, any qualified provider (AQP) of the healthcare market has clearly noticed a gap in the market (large numbers of elderly or not high income groups) and can easily displace the local shop in terms of range and cost of produce they can supply and given the sudden appearance of huge new retail outlets created by the demise/decline of the British pub?

In the same way that market competition has led to the rapid decline of the pub due to a need to pay people to service a bureaucracy we wonder how long these new "social enterprises" will last? What will the effect of minimum pricing of alcohol be?

We are guessing that these may last as long as minimum alcohol is kept off the statue book. Already our patients do not have to go out to buy drink they can order it at home via the net and have a home delivery service into the early hours of the morning.

If minimum alcohol pricing is introduced will Jo and Joanna Public realize that similar such "drive by" services could possibly, subject to legislation, provide a white van social enterprise (AQP) of an importation model for "personal" consumption which might lead to the concept of a local "drive buy" delivery service of EU imported free of minimum unit of alcohol tariff free market booze?

What then would be the effect of a minimum price per unit of alcohol be on the local new supermarket mini mes? More importantly if the market fails who will pick up the costs the failures of the AQP for alcohol?

Anyone remember Prohibition in the USA and the effect it had on public health? Anyone see any similarities between pubs, minimum alcohol unit pricing and British NHS care provision?

Praise be to the Party for once again missing the point. After all in Westminster booze is subsidized and almost open all hours. No doubt they will be exempt by legislation from minimum alcohol pricing per unit or will the honourable members be able to claim back any minimum unit pricing as expenses?

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