Nathan Rees is a desperate man.
For reasons entirely outside his control, he has somehow ended up premier of New South Wales. It must have come as quite a shock.
He got the gig because he is basically the last NSW Labor politician still standing who hasn't been been charged with corruption, assault or child sex offences.
Actually, there was a small number of others, but they are hated for attempting to force electricity privatisation on the state in the face of overwhelming opposition, including the NSW ALP's own state conference.
Then there is the trains, the schools, the hospitals, the push to privatise ferries, the selling of the state to developers, the refusal to pay essential service workers a decent wage and severe attacks on civil liberties.
All of which have created a crisis so deep for the Labor government, that they handed the reins to some guy no one had ever heard of in the vain hope we wont notice he is from the same gang as the rest of the bastards that have made our lives a nightmare since the mid '90s.
This government has only survived recent elections by running a campaign amounting to "But have you seen the opposition?"
Poor Premier Rees.
With Labor having copped unprecedented hidings in by-elections, how does he respond?
Naturally he goes after drinkers.
Premier Rees "could not believe what he saw on Sydney's streets when he headed home late on Saturday night after his Labor Government's thumping at the ballot box".
He said: "The exhibitions of public drunkenness that I saw were mind-boggling … it's getting silly, binge-drinking".
The article, which reports that Rees is "known to enjoy a drink", notes that "not everyone involved in the debate was convinced by his sudden discovery of the issue of alcohol-related violence".
Gee, is that so? Could it really be a cynical manoeuvre by a desperate politician to jump on the latest moral hysteria bandwagon that costs nothing in a desperate attempt to save a rapidly sinking government?
Let's face it, Rees has to do something and its either bash binge drinking or fix the trains and schools.
No governments' AAA credit rating has ever been threatened by a press conference called to condemn excessive drinking. (If only because no one is ever going to heed a morality lecture from a member of the NSW Labor Party, thus ensuring the government's badly needed tax revenue from alcoholic beverages remains perfectly safe.)
Now, I have had my say on this question of binge drinking hysteria. I wont repeat myself here.
What I will say is this.
Premier Rees, you are wrong. The evidence is not on your side.
You may be satisfied with a few smug headlines for the cheapest of political stunts bashing the easiest of victims (drunks, who can't even stand up to fight back).
However, if you want to save your stinking government, you may want to consider a strategy reversal.
How about doing something radical and promoting policies aimed at increasing citizen's happiness?
I know that isn't the style of the NSW Labor government, believe me, I catch trains. But how about a clean break with the past? It's the only way you'll save your skin.
So here is my radical plan.
Instead of bashing drinkers, how about going out of your way to promote alcohol consumption?
That's right, a new study has shown that the happiest people are those that drink every day.
"The index, based on a survey of 2,000 Australians in April, found that those who drink up to three drinks a day are far happier than those who never drink.
"And the wellbeing of 18- to 25-year-olds - the key binge drinking demographic - remains high regardless of how many drinks they have."
The unhappiest? Apparently, "people who did not drink at all had the lowest wellbeing of all".
What a shock.
Now I would have thought this was pretty fucking obvious, but in this day and age, so low have we sunk, that it actually requires some poor bastard to go around with a clip board and ask people to discover the bleeding obvious.
Yes, shocking as it may sound to the crypto-prohibitionists in the government and media, people consume alcohol because it makes them happy.
If you really want to survive, Premier Rees, may I suggest a change of tact.
In the interests of our collective well-being, how about, rather than lectures on the evils of some newly discovered binge drinking culture, getting out there and touring the state's pubs and bars — sticking your head in each one and shouting "Drink motherfucker, drink motherfucker, drink!".
Or, perhaps for the higher class wine bars, jumping in to shout "Scull, scull, scull! Yeeeaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!"
You could even invest in an advertising campaign to raise public awareness. I have a few suggested TV ads below, utilising some good ol' drinking shanties by the Poxy Boggards.
First up, and straight to the point, here is one whose central message is the apt "I'd rather have lager than life". And who wouldn't, with public services the way they are in this state?
"For life without liquor is to no avail/so bring me lager for life!" could be Rees's re-election slogan.
A second option is this one below, which hammers the crucial issue: "Bring us more beer!" This one has the advantage of its chorus featuring a long list of various types of beers that people can order, one after the other.
A third option (below) goes for the tried and tested "shock" option. Like those horrific smoking ads featuring blocked arteries and tarry sponges, it brings home to the average citizen the terrible consequences that face "That strange motherfucker who doesn't like beer".
Among other things, his own dad disowns him, his wife divorces him and his son changes his name. And why wouldn't they?
And finally, my personal favourite: "I wear no pants". I include this one if only because, as close observers of this blog will note, I often don't.
Such a re-election strategy beats the hell out of the now quite weary "But have you seen the opposition?"
Because the answer is we have. That's why we drink.