Edinburgh Festival Fringe: part four - Here are The F-Word’s fourth set of reviews of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe covering theatre, spoken word, comedy, cabaret and variety
20 hours ago
|A Suffragette being forced fed in an English prison|
|Figure 8 - Alcohol-related death rates by sex, United Kingdom, 1991-2007 |
(Source: National Statistics 2009)
|Figure 9 (Source: The |
that people are using the freedoms but people are not sufficiently using the considerable powers granted by the Act to tackle problems, and that there is a need to rebalance action towards enforcement and crack down on irresponsible behaviour. (Ibid)In support of the Minister’s statement was a body of criminological research. (Hough et al 2008, Newton et al 2008) Hough et al (2008) conclude that there are not ‘any clear signs yet that the abolition of a standard closing time has significantly reduced problems of crime and disorder.’ (Hough et al 2008:1 Emphasis added) This report is unfortunately typical of much Home Office funded criminological research. For example it refers only in passing to the Alcohol Misuse Enforcement Campaign, a Home Office funded operation carried out by 43 police forces following the implementation of this legislation, implying it was an ‘existing … initiative’ and fails to consider the possibility that it potential caused a short term distortion to levels of alcohol related crime. (Norris & Williams 2008:264, Hough et al 2008:4) In looking at information from attendances at Accident and Emergency Departments Hough et al (2008) highlight the research of Sivarajasingam et al (2007) which reported on serious violence recorded by a sample of A&E departments. None of its data is specifically about alcohol and although it makes a number of assertions about the 2003 Act, there is no evidence base to sustain these. Research carried out in hospitals showing significant increases in alcohol related A&E attendances and by ambulance services is also mentioned although its evidence is not adequately explored. (Newton et al 2007) The London ambulance service figures at the time Hough et al (2008:9) completed their report showed during the first ten months following implementation of the Act, alcohol related call outs had increased by 2%. A year later they had increased by 12% and the most recent figures show a 28% increase. (London Ambulance Service 2009) The evidence, particularly from medical sources, suggests that the impact of the Act has been consistent with overall alcohol policy, and is contributing to increased harm and violence.
|Figure 10 (Source Donaldson 2009:21)|
It is right for society to bear down on, and deal with, anti-social behaviour that is associated with drinking ... (but) it is also right that we do not want the responsible, sensible majority of moderate drinkers to have to pay more, or suffer, as a result of the excesses of a small minority. (Cited in Independent 2009)Yet again the problem is presented as being about individuals and the evidence of government policy generating harm and violence is ignored. Alcohol policy is more sensitive to the producers, distributors and retailers of the drug than it is to both the Government’s Chief Medical Officer and the substantial body of scientific research supporting his arguments.