31 October, 2008

We can make our own decisions

You turn on your

TV and you see this advert - two balding men are sitting on bar stools. They have fat bellies hanging over their jeans, greasy, thinning hair and builders' bums. They sit in silence, looking at (but not drinking) a pint of beer.

Switching off your TV, you immediately ring your mate, arrange an impromptu get together in your local pub and order that very same beer that so enticed you

in the advert.

Hardly very likely is it? But this is

exactly the kind of advert that drinks manufacturers are being forced to make by over-zealous watchdogs.

As more and more consumers

complain about supposedly irresponsible advertising, the British public should expect to see a huge rise in boring adverts where the brand is non-aspirational

and drinking looks utterly unappealing.

Last week you reported that an advert for Southern Comfort ha s been banned because it showed people having rounds of drinks at a lively party, even though its tagline carried a responsible drinking message (OLN, Oct 31).

I've never heard of anything more ridiculous! The advert simply showed something that all responsible adults already know - that drinking alcohol can be a relaxing, fun part of socialising.

Fair enough that adverts shouldn't link alcohol with aggression or sex, but where's the harm in advertising alcohol in a way that resembles how the vast majority of us drink? The problem with all today's rules and regulations is that is they assume we can't make any decisions for ourselves.

Bill Hamley

by email

Send the red card scheme off

I am glad that I am not the only one "puzzled" by the latest government interference that seems to be specifically aimed at making our busy lives even harder ( "red cards " pitched to councils, Oct 31).

Have the civil servants and decision makers over in Whitehall nothing better to do with their days than thinking up new ha re-brained schemes?

This barmy new

system of red and yellow card warnings smacks of desperation to me.

Gerry Sutcliffe from the Department

for Culture, Media

& Sport says that the powers granted by the Licensing Act aren't being well used by the various local authorities across England and Wales. Well I wonder why that is - maybe because the legislation still isn't that clear, even after five years of it being in action.

Being a responsible retailer with a fairly reasonable council I am not in fear of being issued with a yellow or a red card

- which OLN says would result in things like opening

restrictions, temporary licence suspension or, in extreme

cases, closure.

My concern is that surely this kind of interference needs some sort of checks and balances?

Why does the government think

it can just wade in and bring in more and more anti-trade initiatives whenever it feels like it?

I think the trade source you quoted is quite right, it's just a back door way to introduce yet another crusade against us.

I'd like to issue my own red card to Downing Street, but unfortunately the only way I can do it is through the

ballot box.

Concerned, Reading

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Lifting the spirits

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