Rev Lucy Winkett, Rector of St James Piccadilly, handy for Fortnum and Mason 
Wednesday, 28 March, 2012, 08:36 AM - Winkett
Rating 2 out of 5 (A little platitudinous)

There's to be a minimum price for alcohol. Fortunately, this mostly affects the cheap beer and cider that poor people drink, a decent bottle of plonk won't be affected.

Public drunkenness, binge drinking, "pre-loading". Tut, tut, tut. It just keeps getting worse and worse. Of course, it's always been getting worse and worse. The Victorians complained about how drunk the lower classes were becoming in order to forget their otherwise drab and miserable lives.

Nowadays, it's not unknown for respectable people to have a glass of wine in the evenings. Tony Blair has even admitted that he once or twice had a second, that's right a second, gin and tonic.

So what does the Big Book of Magic Stuff have to say about alcohol? Well nothing really. When the Big Book of Magic Stuff says nothing, or is contradictory, or even says the opposite of what we'd like it to say, we describe it's message as "complex". Jesus changed water into find wine (Jacob's Creek Reserve Pinot Noir, 13 A.D., vibrant and complex with a lush black cherry bouquet and rich overtones of spice). Monks have often brewed and sold beer and we still drink wine at the Eucharist, so it's obviously not all bad.

It's surely a sign of our times that we need alcohol to oil the wheels of social interaction, just as it's been a sign of the times for most of recorded history. I think it's now becoming clear though, and I know this may come as a shock to many of you, that too much alcohol is a bad thing.

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