I'm looking out for cases of soft paternalism: "a political philosophy that believes the state can help you make the choices you would make for yourself — if only you had the strength of will and the sharpness of mind" according to the boffins at Wikipedia. The soft paternalism king is Richard Thaler, guru to Barack Obama and David Cameron.
Today I saw the Drinkaware Trust's new advert at the station.
"I see you like to recycle...(wow you drink a lot)". Cue a recycling bin full of booze bottles.
Ever since we've started leaving our bottles out to be recycled, I've checked out other people's bins on the way to work. I wrongly associate a few empty spirits bottles with an alcoholic household. Wrongly, as I know from my dad's drinking that the experienced alcoholic isn't going to broadcast to the world what he or she gets up to in private.
Our bin is collected once a week and to the casual observer we are just about drinking within the government guidelines for the weekly consumption of alcohol for two adults who just drink at home.
But who honestly spreads the quantity of drink they consume equally over a week? Not us, that's for certain. What you see there, my friend, is a merry old time for two or a lost weekend for one.
I'm not sure this campaign is going to have the desired effect. I couldn't care less if my neighbours think I overdo it on the old sauce. Or in fact if they think I don't drink enough. Or even if they think I drink just the right amount. And I'm not going to walk out my front door and look in my recycling bin and think "blow me, I must have enjoyed myself last week."
Besides, the bins for our cans have lids on. So what do your Stella drinkers do? How on earth are they going to control their drinking?
7 hours ago