So there I was sitting on the Cross-benches, in the middle of the I.D. Cards Bill, arguing with the Minister of State, when my PDA reminded me that it was time to slip down to the Commons to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Wines and Spirits.  I hadn't foggiest idea of what to write for this blog, Christopher and Nick were after me and my mind was as fertile as the tundra.
The general consensus, apart from a bit of party-political point-scoring, was that it was only sensible to let people have a drink in a civilised fashion at a time that suited their work or entertainment pattern. Some figures were bandied around like "a 15% increase in binge drinking last year" - but a 15% increase from what - if it was 20 cases before it makes 23 now, if it was 100,000 then we've got an extra 15,000 parties which have gone over-the-top.  The trouble is that the tabloids will have to justify their campaign by finding some drunks tonight, regardless.  Personally, I think it's the amount of spare cash you have in your pocket that decides how much you'll drink - there's already enough time to get completely sloshed if you want to.  People will either get drunk as quickly as they did before, or drink more slowly as they eke out their hard-earned pennies in which case they will not get as drunk.  There are already laws which forbid publicans serving alcohol to drunks.

The wines were fine - for white I preferred the La Motte Chardonnay 2004 (Western Cape) and everyone liked the Kanonkop Paul Sauer 2002 (Simonsberg Stellenbosch) best among the three reds, but it was nearly twice the price of the others.  A bit tannic, I would have laid it down for a few years and then seen if it would rival a good claret.

Then back to I.D. Cards.  I still don't understand how a card, for the next ten years mostly issued to middle-class citizens who want passports or driving licenses, and with no reference or link to the Police National Computer helps with "the prevention and detection of crime".  They want to use fingerprints to check your I.D., so why not just check the police computer directly?

Better have a bottle of good wine before they come to get you.
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