Driven to Drink pt. I


Viikko 11


I had written 2 speeches 2½ years apart on the same subject, i.e. changing the alcohol policies in this country, so that I wasn’t aware of the former’s contents while writing the latter. Interestingly, they do not clash, but the latter of them is taking things a little farther, not breaking with the spirit of the earlier one.  Here I’m presenting them back to back, the earlier in this week and the updated version a week later. You can take note of how the narrative evolves… these two did not have exactly the same motion, but here I’m picking one from either and using it for both for the sake of clarity and comparison.

Motion: THW take drastic measures to fix Finland’s alcohol problem(S)
Role: MP (govt. )

An MP was recently interviewed on the radio about several issues. At one point, she admitted to the proposition that ”Wine is the drink of the wise”. This led me to ask myself: ”Do the high-IQ people drink less or more but better than those with a low IQ?” The answer would be NO. Spirits prepare us all for alcoholism in the medium and long run. We crave for that substance not really knowing why. The answers lies in the receptors of the brain and how they react to alcohol. Even the wise succumb to the charms of boozing once they have drunk and been drunk sufficiently many times in their lives. Drinking, therefore, is more of an emotional/hormonal issue than a rational one. Also, those who can take it for longer have different kinds of intellectual, financial, temporal, social and physical capital and buffers at their disposal than the less fortunate. But, more answers have to be looked for elsewhere.

It seems to me that the natural way to drink well (i.e. wisely) is to drink in company. Here I’m listing the various benefits of doing it in company:

  • a point comes after which drinking stops. It can be the bouncer, a midnight curfew, the last-orders flick of the switch, a row, an argument, a banging of the door or some other reason.
  • rare(r) occasions of drinking enable drinking only the best stuff and purchasing also some for the others
  • the situation is leavened by talk and conversation rather than gloom and silence
  • intelligent people and loosening inhibitions can produce memories to cherish (as opposed to trying to create memories alone, together with the bottle or can)
  • people quite seldom endorse an invitation to drink nowadays, as they are relatively busy
  • drinking in company carries some stigma but drinking alone is downright taboo

Drinking socially would produce a virtuous circle, in which people start longing for joint sessions of drinking and talking, since they will represent release (or, an exhaling movement) on three levels: release through an intoxicant, relief with one’s friends, mates or acquaintances and riddance of some money. People want to consume, if they consume only every now and then. They are fearful of taking all of their money to the grave (which would not even happen, obviously.) This doesn’t affect young, penniless people perhaps as much as those senior citizens.

The logical consequence of this reasoning, therefore and thus, should be: The Abolition of Alko* in Finland!
*(state monopoly on selling spirits over 5 % alc. vol.)

This may sound odd, strange and avoidable, but it would also be one form of the classic conundrum and its solution, i.e. ”Eating one’s cake and Having it, too”. Namely, we would put our ”cake” out of sight by not allowing ourselves to buy it from Alko. But, we could eat it, too, by buying it in pubs, clubs; at short- and long-order restaurants, concert venues and bars and on trains, planes, long-haul buses, ships and ferries and other places and vehicles that are licenced by the existing laws to sell and serve alcohol.  We could also tolerate and accept the permission to bring alcohol in one’s luggage from trips overseas and through tourism. That alcohol I believe is only causing minor damage to the system, although the figures are on the rise. Paradoxically, the most major player in the field, Alko, the purported controller of substance abuse in Finland, is also the biggest damage-doer, as the big rivers of booze flow from and through it.

In enforcing this kind of quasi- or semi-Prohibition, the Govt. would certainly incur the people’s wrath and cause a painful period of transition. As a countermeasure, pricing in pubs should be lowered to correspond to continental standards so that people could afford their hard-earned relief this time around (as they don’t at the moment, to a great extent). For example, a GT should not cost any more than €3 or €4 in a standard pub(lic house). Fancier places could charge a few cents more on top of that. Postal codes could determine how much a pub could charge for their drinks and foods. Lest we forget, one could order a drink for €2,5 in sunny Andalucia, Spain. It was fun and it was safe there. There were no disorderly-behaviour disturbances (that I can recall).

In going about the policy-making in this way, we could combine the best parts of both Prohibition and the Roaring Twenties…. just think about the possibilities.


Puheen kesto: 6 min 2 sek
Arvio: * * (* *). Puhe on hyvää kamaa, sillä siinä on käänteentekevä ehdotus, hyvä perustelu ja hyvät jäsentelyt, mutta sen tekee ongelmaiseksi esittäminen vasta III ajo-puolen puheenvuorona. Jos muut puol(ue)en jäsenet ovat vetäneet täysin päinvastaista linjaa ja vaatineet hyvin erityyppistä linjaa nykyisen tilanteen ”rauhoittamiseksi”, tämä puhe saattaa vetää väärään suuntaan ja ”rikkoa” hallituksen linjan. Tähdet tulevat näin vähäisiksi tai isommiksi riippuen siitä, mitä oma puoli tekee tai siitä, sallitaanko ristiriitaiset ehdotukset, jos aloite otetaan kirjaimellisesti.





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