John Greenaway: A Perennially awkward issue: The Labour Party and alcohol
Posted on 03-09-2013
The UK Labour Party has found alcohol policy particularly difficult to fit into party ideology or programmes. By the end of the nineteenth century Labour was split three ways on the issue: prohibitionists and temperance enthusiasts who saw drink as a contributor to poverty and social distress; libertarians who saw temperance as a distraction from the class war; and enthusiasts for state control along lines of disinterested management. These divisions persisted until the 1930s. But the post-1945 period saw equally marked tensions: from debates about nationalisation of drink in the new towns, to issues on tied houses and monopoly, to policy on alcohol-related health issues. After 1997 ‘New Labour’ under Tony Blair liberalisation of alcohol sales represented part of an attempt to rebrand Labour as a modern party, no longer beholden to the ‘nanny state’ or old class-based politics. This backfired and he party seems not to have any coherent approach to such issues as minimum pricing or alcohol as a health issue. Part of the difficulty lies in the flexibility of the framing of alcohol policy. Is it a leisure, a trading, a health or a law and order policy issue?


Under Control?

Location: London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

"Under Control? Alcohol and Drug Regulation, Past and Present"  conference was held at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine 21-23rd June 2013. Under Control? was supported by the Alcohol Research UK; Bowling Green State University; the Alcohol and Drugs History Society, Brock University (Faculty of Applied Health Sciences); the Society for the Study…

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Lifeline Project & FEAD Read more

Welcome to Lifeline and FEAD (Film Exchange on Alcohol and Drugs). This project has been shaped by the wealth of experience, openness, and knowledge of the contributors. You are invited to comment on the clips, which are supported by footnotes to which you can add. FEAD is an ongoing Lifeline Project initiative.

Lifeline Project: In 1971 the Lifeline Project opened a day centre for drug users in Manchester. Since its foundation Lifeline has grown and developed, and now works in a diverse range of settings across the UK. Our purpose is to relieve poverty, sickness and distress among those persons affected by addiction to drugs of any kind, and to educate the public on matters relating to drug misuse.