Skip to main content

Drinking Responsibly

Both Labour and the Conservatives have been much exercised by the alleged culture of binge drinking in the UK. A report has suggested that the introduction of more relaxed opening hours for the sale of alcohol had not created a cafe culture, but had in fact increased crime. We are told that the UK is at the centre of an epidemic of binge drinking. Children are said to be out of their brains and out of control. David Cameron has suggested that adults who buy alcohol should be named and shamed with pictures. Frankly, after accusing the government of gimmicks, he might have left that idea in the wastepaper bin, where it belongs.

Although the media are whipping up a moral panic, and although it is undoubtedly the case that excessive consumption of booze generally leads to higher crime, the fact is that the UK is not actually at the top of international consumption of alcohol. France, Ireland, Denmark, the Czech Republic and even Luxembourg all consume far more alcohol per capita than the UK does.

What are we then to make of demands that the state should intervene in the market place and ban the sale of strong lagers ? What are we to make of criminal procedures being launched against parents who allow their children to drink ?

Frankly the law already has sanctions against drunkenness- to be drunk and disorderly is an offense. To commit crimes, whether drunk or sober is still well, criminal.

After the absurd number of new criminal justice acts passed over the past fifteen years, it seems plain that Political intervention to control peoples behaviour is highly unlikely to work. Restricting the freedom to drink is not the same as controlling crime. Moral panic leads to the foolish gimmicks that David Cameron proposes.

Instead of changing the law, it strikes me that allowing the Police and the Magistrates the freedom to control late night drinking as they see fit and insisting that public drunkenness not be tolerated should be enough. We already have the laws to control this problem. We do not need more laws.

Comments

Bernard Salmon said…
I agree with you on this, and have also blogged on a similar subject today: http://thesoundofgunfire.blogspot.com/2008/02/sober-debate-on-booze-culture.html
Newmania said…
I dunno as we can`t have a good war to clean the closet out anymore a bit of privation may be just what this crappy country needs.For working people especially families it could hardly be worse. I`d rather anything than go on like this forever.
Cicero said…
Newmania- what is this ? A severe hangover??? :-)
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Popular posts from this blog

Post Truth and Justice

The past decade has seen the rise of so-called "post truth" politics.  Instead of mere misrepresentation of facts to serve an argument, political figures began to put forward arguments which denied easily provable facts, and then blustered and browbeat those who pointed out the lie.  The political class was able to get away with "post truth" positions because the infrastructure that reported their activity has been suborned directly into the process. In short, the media abandoned long-cherished traditions of objectivity and began a slow slide into undeclared bias and partisanship.  The "fourth estate" was always a key piece of how democratic societies worked, since the press, and later the broadcast media could shape opinion by the way they reported on the political process. As a result there has never been a golden age of objective media, but nevertheless individual reporters acquired better or worse reputations for the quality of their reporting and

We need to talk about UK corruption

After a long hiatus, mostly to do with indolence and partly to do with the general election campaign, I feel compelled to take up the metaphorical pen and make a few comments on where I see the situation of the UK in the aftermath of the "Brexit election". OK, so we lost.  We can blame many reasons, though fundamentally the Conservatives refused to make the mistakes of 2017 and Labour and especially the Liberal Democrats made every mistake that could be made.  Indeed the biggest mistake of all was allowing Johnson to hold the election at all, when another six months would probably have eaten the Conservative Party alive.  It was Jo Swinson's first, but perhaps most critical, mistake to make, and from it came all the others.  The flow of defectors and money persuaded the Liberal Democrat bunker that an election could only be better for the Lib Dems, and as far as votes were concerned, the party did indeed increase its vote by 1.3 million.   BUT, and it really is the bi

Media misdirection

In the small print of the UK budget we find that the Chancellor of the Exchequer (the British Finance Minister) has allocated a further 15 billion Pounds to the funding for the UK track and trace system. This means that the cost of the UK´s track and trace system is now 37 billion Pounds.  That is approximately €43 billion or US$51 billion, which is to say that it is amount of money greater than the national GDP of over 110 countries, or if you prefer, it is roughly the same number as the combined GDP of the 34 smallest economies of the planet.  As at December 2020, 70% of the contracts for the track and trace system were awarded by the Conservative government without a competitive tender being made . The program is overseen by Dido Harding , who is not only a Conservative Life Peer, but the wife of a Conservative MP, John Penrose, and a contemporary of David Cameron and Boris Johnson at Oxford. Many of these untendered contracts have been given to companies that seem to have no notewo