Drunk drivers are dangerous and it would be absurd to argue against the drink-drive legislation as it stands, acting as it does to deter all but the most reckless from having more than one or two small drinks before taking to the road. However, a worrying movement seems to be gaining ground that is pressing for the limit (currently 80mg per litre of blood in England and Wales) to be reduced to zero. I have heard the argument made by doctors, politicians and self-appointed campaigners on several TV and radio programmes recently, usually unchallenged by the presenter.
Who is out there defending the hotel and restaurant trade? Just consider the disastrous effect such a change in the law would have on business. Nobody would dare organise a celebratory meal such as the very pleasant lunch my colleagues and I (see pic) enjoyed at Calcot Manor the other day. We all drove and so had one glass of champagne each before lunch and nothing thereafter. A more sensible approach to pre-Christmas entertaining could scarcely be imagined.
A total ban could crucify the hospitality industry, robbing the exchequer of tens of billions in tax and reversing the welcome growth in private-sector employment. Yes, too much alcohol does indeed cause injury and death, but one glass of wine with a meal? Really?
Let’s not sleepwalk into allowing gesture politics to put our livelihoods at risk.