Saturday, November 22, 2008

Taffy was a Welshman, Taffy was a drunk?

Our culture has chosen alcohol as it's main drug. It's not always an entirely happy relationship though.

I wasn't particularly of the opinion that Wales has a worse problem than anywhere else in the UK, as South Wales Police Chief Barbara Wilding has suggested. I can say for sure that Cardiff seems to have a very healthy drinking culture, if healthy is the right word, but, would imagine that it's no better or worse than most big British cities.

I've heard that Newport is the most violent place in Britain, but have no reason to believe that's anything other than an opinion. The violence, I was told, was caused by large numbers of people from satellite towns arriving in the city on Friday and Saturday nights with the intention of getting plastered. The same certainly happens in Cardiff.

When I went to university among the first friends I made were a couple of lads from Cwmbran, who called Newport 'Stab City' and were the first people I'd met in my sheltered rural life who carried knives when they went out.

Now, I may be a drunk, but I'm no sociologist, so all this is so much anecdotal waffle. But at least Barbara Wilding has got people talking - launching a campaign with churches to cut binge drinking - and you'd have to be blind (blind drunk perhaps) not to see that choosing alcohol, with its estimated £20 billion annual law enforcement and health cost to the economy, as our chief drug is not without cost.

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