But Smith also warned parents that they had a responsibility, saying that nearly half of the alcohol obtained by young people appeared to come from the family home: "The idea that you can hand your kids a six-pack of lager and tell them to disappear off for the evening - with no thought to consequences -is frankly baffling to me," she said, urging the police to make greater use of parenting contracts in the most persistent cases.Now, I know that there is an underage drinking problem in this country. I don't know exactly how bad it is - probably not as bad as the newspapers make out. But you would expect politicians not to contribute to the wailing and caterwauling that we get from the media, wouldn't you?
What does the survey actually report? Well, we don't really know because the results aren't due to be published until "later this month", but if the Guardian story is accurate it will show that "more than half of 13-year olds have drunk alcohol" [my emphasis].
Not "more than half of 13-year olds are binge-drinking, hoodie wearing troublemakers". No. "have drunk alcohol" it says. So while this counts the noisy, obnoxious minority who knock back Tennants Extra in the precinct, it also counts well-behaved, nicely brought-up kids whose parents are responsibly (and perfectly legally) teaching them to appreciate and respect alcohol by giving them, for example, a very small glass of wine with a meal on special occasions. You know, just like you and I and most of the rest of us.
Of course, Ms Smith needs to get her headlines, doesn't she. Politicians can't just stick to facts nowadays, can they? Silly cow!