For well over a thousand years now, we’ve had a problem with “the vice of drunkenness”. “Before the Roman came to Rye or out to Severn strode, The rolling English drunkard made the rolling English road,” as the writer GK Chesterton put it. As far back as 1362, the Archbishop of Canterbury said: “The tavern is worshipped rather than the church, gluttony and drunkenness is more abundant than tears and prayers.”
...[currently supermarkets] sell cider cheaper than water.Cheaper than water? That was true of the beer in China when we were there. Bottled water was quite expensive, whereas the local brew was very nearly free: I think I worked out that it cost something like eight cents a quart.
It sounds as though earlier policies aimed at this problem have been successful. As the article notes, in the 19th century the problem was hard liquor, especially gin. Wise Victorians decided that they needed to make lighter drinks like wine and beer -- and cider -- cheaper and more easily available. Thus, they passed laws that resulted in the opening of tens of thousands of beer halls.
The author agrees, finally, that this is the right road to taming the problem today: "We need to get people back into the British boozer and not getting sozzled at home on supermarket deals."
That sounds like a well-formulated policy. It's also important to keep things in perspective. Since we cited an archbishop in 1362, why not consider a more famous sermon from an earlier English archbishop?