I learned something very interesting yesterday.
I was half listening to Biffo droning on, giving his budget speech. I say ‘half listening’ because if you concentrated, you’d go out of your mind.
The Budget has been thrashed out elsewhere, and I’m not going to go into the ins and out of that. That’s boring.
It was the bit where he talked about tobacco and drink that caught my interest.
First of all, he raised the price of fags by 30c. That didn’t surprise me. He said it was because they were dirty filthy foul things and they were ruining the health of the nation, and we all wanted to make Ireland tobacco free. Or words to that effect. I had one small issue with that. He included me in that ‘all’. I don’t want to make Ireland tobacco free.
He then went on to briefly mention high alcohol drinks, and how he had concerns about them, and that he was going to address that issue in the next budget. So high alcohol drinks have a reprieve for a year.
There is only one conclusion from this. Tobacco poses a much higher risk to health than high alcohol drinks. I never knew that.
So all those nightly street fights in our city centres [and elsewhere] aren’t caused by drink after all. The fact that I get bashed over the head with a wine bottle by some stranger is because he has just smoked eight Benson & Hedges, and has nothing to do with his being out of his gourds on tequila slammers and countless pints of lager? All those kids lying on Accident and Emergency floors on a Saturday night are there because they had a surreptitious drag on a mate’s fag, and has nothing to do with them being fifty times over the limit?
From now on, I’m going to watch the taxi-ranks. If there is a driver who is having a quick smoke while waiting for a fare, I’ll avoid him like the plague. I’ll go for the one who has just downed a bottle of whiskey in one go. Much safer.
From now on, if I see someone approaching me smoking a cigarette, I’ll have my Mace and my Tazer at the ready. In fact, I will try and hang around the stag parties in Temple Bar. Much safer.
It is amazing what you can learn even from a boring old budget speech.