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Save us from busybodies

Published:  18 January, 2007

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive."

Gordon Brown ought to love the Wine and Spirit Trade Association's Budget submission. Even if he doesn't like the demand for alcohol taxation stability and restraint, he's got to love the density, the argument, the sheer weight of the thing. It's a clunking fist of a document. Whump.

Up to 31,000 words of data, facts and persuasive analysis hitting Gordon's desk like a lead train. It's brilliant work and far more comprehensive than any industry should expect from a lobby group. If you haven't read it, you should.

But the WSTA submission can be only half our argument. It's time for the C.S. Lewis or the Isaiah Berlin in the all of us to emerge and defend some basic freedoms.

I don't consider it the Government's or the doctor's job to legislate and regulate us into what they consider better behaviour. If you feel that way too, then moderately, intelligently and reasonably, in the pub, the office or on the bus, spend more time making that case.

Joe Fattorini is a journalist and wine writer for, among others, The Herald in Scotland