Our politicians have really earned their salaries lately with a couple of conscience votes coming before Parliament.
First there was the Gay Marriage Bill, which was always going to be fairly divisive, and now we have the vote on alcohol reforms.
It came as no surprise yesterday evening to learn that Parliament voted to keep the drinking and purchase age of alcohol at 18.
In a rare three-way vote, MPs were offered the choice between the status quo age of 18; moving it up to 20 or changing to a split age of 18 at on-license venues and 20 at off-licenses.
If none of the three options won majority support in the first round of voting, a run-off between the two most popular would decide the result.
In the first ballot, the 18 age option received 50 votes, the 20 age option received 38 votes and the split-age option received 33 votes.
The final vote between the top two was 69 for aged 18 and 53 for aged 20.
The vote on the age is the only conscience vote in the Alcohol Reform Bill. Debate on other elements of the bill will resume after next week's recess.
It took MPs 2 hours debating the age yesterday afternoon before they decided to keep the status quo and it probably was the sensible thing to do.
We allow 18-year-olds to do everything else, including voting and joining the military, so why should we deny them the right to buy alcohol?
The problem with raising the drinking and purchasing age is it becomes difficult to police and you find police resources are wasted trying to stop people aged between 18 and 21 from drinking.
We already have a major problem with underage drinking, so why create a bigger burden by increasing the number of people who can't drink.
Rather than trying to restrict people doing something they are going to do anyway, why not educate them about responsible and acceptable drinking.
That, of course, starts with us adults setting a good example.