Licensing Laws

In The Daily Telegraph today

We British will never learn that a hangover is neither big nor clever

Not so long ago, I found myself trapped in downtown Carlisle on a Friday night just before closing time, and believe me, there are better places to be. My train had gone. There was nothing for it. I headed to the pub, and was stunned by the noise, the crowd, the smoke and the astonishing quantities of alcohol that were being necked by the denizens of Carlisle.

I found myself a pint of bitter and a quiet-ish corner, but pretty soon a woman was sitting opposite me in a state of some dishevelment. She was extremely good-looking and had a tattoo of a butterfly on her bosom, but she was pretty far gone.


“I think you are very interesting,” she said suddenly, and took my hand. I was just saying how kind this was of her, when her boyfriend loomed out of the night. “Don’t talk to him,” he advised. “He’s a snob.”

I tried to say that I wasn’t a snob, and that I couldn’t think of anything nicer than talking to him and his girlfriend, but he stuck to his guns. “You’re a snob,” he insisted, “and you want to hit me.”

On the contrary, I said, I had no desire whatever to hit him. “Yes, you do,” he said, coming closer. “I can tell by the way you flexed your shoulder muscles. You’re getting all psyched up.”

I said that any shoulder-flexing had been entirely involuntary, and that, even if I had flexed my shoulders, it did not mean that I wanted to hit him. He thought about this a bit, and then said that perhaps it would be easier all round if he hit me; at which point his girlfriend intervened (at last) and said that she would much rather that we were friends.

This was the beginning of a ferocious altercation between them, with him insisting that I was a snob, and her saying that he was being jealous, during which I snuck quietly for the door and on to the streets of Carlisle, where things, frankly, were little better.

It was a coldish night, but everywhere there was a pagan semi-nudity. There were queues to buy kebabs, and the pavements were Jackson Pollocked with the results of eating a kebab on top of eight pints of lager.

Faces leered and weaved towards me, pale and waxy with drink, and everyone seemed to be hurling strange oaths and invitations, and, since I could find nowhere to sit and read my book, I fled to the railway station and sat shivering on the platform until the night train arrived.

As I think back to that Hogarthian nightscape, I can understand why we of a tender bourgeois sensibility are panicked by the idea of further relaxing the licence laws. There is going to be 24-hour drinking, they say, and the police are warning that they – and the British public – are just not ready for it.

It’s not just the yobbos, they say; it’s the new species of pissed ladette, profane, belly-flaunting, swigging shots of cocktail from brightly coloured and cunningly marketed bottles, and sweeping the streets in terrifying gangs.

Not since Pentheus was ripped limb from limb by the Maenads have we seen such drink-fuelled aggression from the female sex, say the newspapers, and now the Labour Government is going to make it worse. They are going to make the booze even more accessible.

I am sure that Judge Charles Harris QC spoke for millions yesterday when he said: “The situation is already grave, if not grotesque, and to facilitate this by making drinking facilities more widely available is close to lunacy. It simply means that our towns and city centres are abandoned every night to tribes of pugnacious, drunk, noisy, vomiting louts. The cost to the health services must be vast. The cost to those who try to live civilised lives in urban surroundings is huge.”

The judge pointed out that a huge proportion of crime is drink-related, and then – to the BBC – made the crucial observation. He remarked that it was all very well talking about a new café -style culture, where we all sit around like Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, drinking slowly and moderately as we formulate new philosophical aperçus; but Britain couldn’t have a Continental approach to licensing laws until we had a Continental approach to drink.

There the good judge is right, at least in this sense: that we, the British, are quite prodigious in our attitude to alcohol. Shakespeare makes the point that even the other beer-and-whisky drinking northern Europeans are nothing, in the size of their potations, compared with the Englishman. He drinks with facility your Dane dead drunk; he sweats not to overthrow your Almain. He gives your Hollander a vomit ere the next pottle can be filled, and today, more than 400 years later, we are still outboozing the Almains and the Hollanders by some margin.

I have just looked at the figures, and our teenagers are more drunk, more often, than any other country in Europe except the Finns. We drink the Russians off the balcony; we drink the Ukrainians under the table. Of our teenagers, 40 per cent have been dead drunk more than 10 times in the past 12 months, compared with a piffling seven per cent of French teenagers. The average Briton contrives to turn a “drinking occasion” into a “binge-drinking occasion” more regularly than anyone except possibly the Irish.

It was as I was skimming these statistics that I suddenly had an insight. I realised to my horror that I was reading the figures with pride, and there, my friends, is the trouble. Deep down, because of some peculiarity in our psyche, we think it rather admirable to get bladdered, leathered, rat-arsed and otherwise hogwhimpering drunk.

The awful truth is that I doubt the relaxation of the licensing laws will make much difference; in fact, if they slow down these binges, the new hours might even help. But as long as the British think – as I am afraid they do – that a snorting hangover is somehow a matter for boasting, then they will continue to get hammered.

75 thoughts on “Licensing Laws”

  1. What ever has been happening for the past few years hasn’t worked. Its time for a radical shake up. It won’t stop the alcohol fuelled brawling apes, it won’t stop the skimpy dressed felines, however it might slow down the pace of drinking.. and make us more like the Europeans …What did I just say? God no. Drink your poison anyway you please.

  2. I’m afraid you’re right, Boris. It requires large quantities of drink for a rather reserved nation to be able to loosen its inhibitions. I once noticed in a cafe in Barcelona, close to midnight, a quiet person reading a book in a quiet corner of the establishment. If he’d try that around where I live the gentle bookworm would probably get his head modified at no extra charge, his book ripped to pieces and his spectacles twisted. It may work out that in the future people will take their time to get to their desired state of alcohol-induced oblivion. But at what cost?

  3. Who was it said there were ‘eating cultures’ and ‘drinking cultures’?

    Examples of the former are said to be France, Italy, China, India etc, while most of northern and eastern Europe, and notably Japan, are drinking cultures.

    I don’t think I have ever seen a serious drunk in China, or in Hong Kong, Singapore or Taiwan. The Chinese do drink – beer, wine and strong spirits – but only when they eat. In contrast Tokyo train stations are littered with collapsed businessmen and students, who drink but _don’t_ eat, every Friday and Saturday night.

    Contrasts in Europe may not be so extreme, but as the survivor of an overnight ‘duty free’ ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn, my experience is as rich as that of Boris in Carlisle. (I note his deference to the Finns in the text above).

    So, if we accept that eating cultures are preferable, how do we switch over to become one? Can the food writers and broadcasters help here?

    P.S. Hope Boris is not going to have to do an apology trip to Carlisle . . . maybe they don’t have as much clout as the Liverpudlians.

  4. As a trade publisher in the beer industry, I can attest that a relaxing of the license laws, such as the extension of drinking hours in pubs, will usually slow down the wild binging that goes on just before closing time.

    The irony in the U.S. is that the more puritanical we get in our alcohol laws (which are governed by the states), the more irresponsible drinking we experience. The law of unintended consequences always prevails, which is why legislating moral behavior rarely works. When we relax alcohol laws, young people become more responsible, as a general rule.

    Indeed, the national U.S. drinking age of 21 has inadvertently caused the 18 to 20 year olds to go underground where they learn to binge rather than quaff a casual stein. Cheers!

  5. Now here’s an idea, Boris. In every council office and town hall there are rooms – nay, whole wings – occupied by people in pointless jobs.

    Clear them out and fit the vacant space with small cells into which you throw oiks like this for the maximum amount of time allowed under detention law. It’s for his own safety, you see.

    Furnish the cell with a rock-hard bed and give him a minimum amount of food and water, any food to be revolting.

    He will emerge late for work or after the benefit office has closed.

    Result – lower council tax and a sober oik who may think twice about threatening people in future.

    Alternatively, you could have smacked him in the chops as he requested.

  6. It doesn’t seem to be much of a problem for people to get horribly drunk at the moment. Boris’s story and most people experience shows that with pubs closing at 11pm we can all get so drunk that we can’t walk or drink any more. So what is the problem of opening later? Or are you advocating that pubs should close at 10pm or altogether except for nice country pubs?

  7. I’m afraid I do not believe the proposed changes to the licensing laws will have any positive effect whatsoever.
    My reasons for this are as follows:

    Firstly, the point made by Simon is absolutely right. There is a vast difference in culture between us and the French.
    I was lucky enough to enjoy the Bastille day celebrations in France along with 3 of my friends, all 19 years of age, and students at top Universities.
    We visited a different pub or club every night, and needless to say, they were not full of drunken louts, and the streets were completely vomit-free!

    My other reason is that most louts start to drink heavily at an early age. Every Friday night I see boys and girls as young as 14 or 15 loitering outside Macdonalds with bottles of White Lightning and Lambrini! Living in a fairly affluent Conservative town, I fail to believe that this isn’t the situation elsewhere.
    The law should be hitting harder the parents of these youths, if not the youths themselves.

    This is also why Harry Schumacher’s final argument is a complete non sequitur. It is not the U.S.’ legal drinking age which causes youngsters to binge, it is the poor execution of the laws themselves along with the obvious difference in culture.

  8. I can see Michael Howard sending you to Carlisle, Bozza. When will you learn. If you want to be rude about somewhere, pick bloody Henley. It’s full of Tories.

  9. It seems to me to be particularly sad to actually have to admit to belonging to a society which seems to be dedicated to getting pissed. Not quietly or with dignity, but pissed at any price.

    If I were a Martian who had strayed from my orbit and landed in the centre of almost any town in the UK, at any time after 2200hrs,I would be forced to believe that the whole human race was not only incapable of standing without support; but was incapable of vocal communication , excepting at volumes so high up the decibel scale , that one might perforce believe that the Human Race was almost bereft of hearing.

    Further to those first impressions as a Martian, would occur the belief; that each visible human being was intent upon upsetting others in a variety of unpleasant ways. More often than not, the unprovoked physical violence seen to be doled out randomly to seeming strangers, is but one aspect of this behaviour which is shared by both male and female Humans,: sometimes indeed, it seems that the female of the species is more vicious than the male. Another aspect of this after sundown behaviour seems to be the three dimensional, ad hoc decoration of walls and pavements, with the purpose made material of previously imbibed food and drink, by the,( look Ma : no hands),school of art. This is particularly unpleasant to those of us Martians with a delicate stomach, and keen sense of smell.

    I have been in worse places for drunks; some parts of Norway, for example, where the locals tanked up on home made hooch, before venturing out into the local restaurant / pub, to finish off the evening with the hyper expensive half litre of beer, before going home. They are relatively quiet drunks though, and I only saw the occasional altercation in public.; nothing like what one comes to expect here.

    The thing is , money does not expand with the licensing hours , and , human nature being what it is , the lateness factor will become the norm, and City centres will have to put up with, and pay for, more police on late shifts and / or overtime; meanwhile the management of businesses will be faced by even more Monday Morning Sickies than ever before. The Government will have to be forgiven; for it knows not what it does.

  10. Harry – From my (very limited) experience of the States, the 21 drinking age does have a beneficial effect.

    Three years ago I was in Nashville watching the July 4 firework celebrations. It seemed the whole city had turned out – many thousands of people enjoying a breathtaking son-et-lumiere at the riverside, staged as only the Yanks know how.

    Not only was there no sign of trouble but wherever you went the atmosphere was tangibly friendly and good-time. One thing I noticed in particular was the number of teenagers who were there simply to enjoy the spectacle and have a jolly time. Not a lager can in sight, let alone a pavement pizza.

    Having said that, if I was denied a drink at the age of 20 I’d probably have turned to drink.

  11. Vicus, it’s not an attack on Carlisle, the piece could easily have been about my town or just about any in the country and Boris make sthat clear.

    I tend to think lengthening the licensing hours may help – a bit – because people trying to drink as much as they can before 11 and then being thrown out onto the street en masse while they’re buzzing is definitely a part of the problem. Like Boris says though, other things need to be done. We need to enforce the drinking age and we need a zero tolerance approach to drunken behaviour. I’d also recommend we allow pubs to function as nightclubs and serve food till late so patrons will stay contained in them all night, under the eye of the bouncers, rather than spill out onto the streets in search of kebab shops and nigth clubs. And let’s force pubs which don’t already have security to have it so incidents like the one Boris recounts don’t happen.

  12. PS Vicus Scarra. Bog off, will you? I’ve read better stuff in sixth form magazines. At least they don’t recycle Mrs Trellis.

  13. Howard: Vicus is viewed as a sort of Punch and Judy, or Judy and Richard if you’d prefer. His chosen nom de plume should tell you a lot.In days of old, the fool or jester could get away with a lot: a bit like the fat controller really. Prescott; aka Punch and Bluster.

  14. Harry Schuhmacher may be right about the relaxation of license laws slowing down bingeing.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe it’s still rare for the British to party all night. Doesn’t verything (or nothing) comes to an end around midnight? In countries where people stay up it’s different. To keep going until 5 or 6 in the morning, it’s necessary to drink more cautiously and avoid getting dehydrated – otherwise it’s not possible to last out.

    Incidentally, Vicus may have a point in contrasting Henley-on-picturesque-Thames with the ‘Poznan of northern England’. We sometimes drive through on our way south. It’s the point where the motorway ends and we realize we are in another country.

  15. I’ve just had an idea that could actually make ID cards useful. Why not include a daily drink limit on the card? Before you buy a drink your card is swiped to check you have not had your daily allowance of alcohol. After say four pints of Carling the card will register as empty and you will no longer be allowed to buy drinks that night. The ID cards also have your picture on it so people won’t be able to lend each other their cards.

    This would also solve the problem of having to get a round in for everyone as only the card holder would be able to buy drinks for themselves…

  16. You know, I read all that and still the most memorable part is that you survived Carlisle. VC’s have been awarded for less, I have been there several times early on friday evenings, and sat on that self same train station clutching my laptop and hoping the train would turn up on time. (I know, I know, Its Blair’s Britain, the trains never run on time)
    I do think the new laws are a bad idea though. Where I live we already have a huge problem with binge drinking, and by 11 most of the patrons of the towns somewhat dubious beverage establishments are so far out of their heads its unbelievable. Were they to go on any longer, I’m sure that either Armageddon or Bacchanalia, niether of which, if you have seen the yokels, is an attractive prospect.

  17. Thanks for visiting my site, Howard. Sorry I was out, I would have invited you in for some tea and crumpets. I was out campaigning for a new dam on the Thames at Maidenhead, creating a massive lake to wipe out much of Oxfordshire.
    As for my bogging off, I can not oblige until such time as Melissa bars me. Judging by the adoring fan mail I have from her, I fear that that is unlikely to happen.

  18. Boris writes :
    “She was extremely good-looking and had a tattoo of a butterfly on her bosom.”
    Isn’t that a contradiction in terms ?

    “The average Briton contrives to turn a “drinking occasion” into a “binge-drinking occasion” more regularly than anyone except possibly the Irish.”

    As an Irishman living in Henley I’ll have to stand up for the Irish here Boris. The British and the Irish are far closer when it comes to alcohol consumption than either would probably like to admit.

    Licensing laws were relaxed in Ireland a few years ago, allowing for later opening on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Till 1am I think. As far as I remember this was again changed to exclude Thursday nights due to increased absenteeism on Fridays. These later hours just result in people drinking more though. They still go out to the pub at the same time they always did. They can just fit more drinking in now.

    Having said all that, shutting up 11pm is a bit ridiculous on a weekend. Back in Ireland there is something called Drinking Up Time, which is officially something like 20 minutes after last orders, before they start yelling for you to leave. There’s a certain pub in Henley where they start to make you feel unwelcome at about 10.45.

  19. This is a toughie! I guess that while individuals should be free to do what they want, all other things being equal, the pragmatist must say that if there is a regular trend towards what can only be described as uncivilised and dangerous behaviour then the government has a duty to try and solve the problem. Unfortunately this often takes the shape of massive job creation schemes for people with soggy social science degrees.

    At the least I believe that the police have enough to do already with the terrorist threat. It seems to be unbelievable folly to pass legislation that seems likely to increase their work.

    Talking of job creation schemes has anyone considered the human cost of unemployment if we drop multiculturalism?

  20. Harry S – I’m delighted to be introduced to the Law of Unintended Consequences. Sounds a close twin to my old friend the Cock-Up Theory of History. Here we go again…

    Howard – in defence of Vicus (who needs no such defence), I’ve got to say that I too thought ‘ooops, Boris’ when I came to the bit about ‘the denizens of Carlisle’. Just a little too golf-club glib, old son, and rather a shame when BJ was actually shaping a coherent argument…

    Simon H – I’m with you on this one. Legislation and control, whatever form it takes, is going to do nothing more than embed drinking even deeper in our culture. It’ll be ghastly for a while, but sooner or later it’ll sink in that if you don’t mix your drinks, and you stay away from cocktails disguised as baby food, and you take your time over things you’ll actually have a better evening out…

    Alternatively, we could completely legalise marijuana. I’ve noticed that it dramatically cuts alcohol consumption, and usually promotes better behavious on the streets…

  21. OK Vicus. Perhaps that was a bit harsh. You sound like a nice chap. Unfortunately you also sound like someone who might find Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy funny.

    Pete: Neat idea for the ID cards. But why stop at drink? Why not fuel, water, potatoes…? Think of the fun New Labour would have.

  22. Really Vicus Scurra:

    >until such time as Melissa bars me. Judging by the adoring fan mail I have from her, I fear that that is unlikely to happen

    Hello again Vicus – and what a claim my young friend!

    Vicus is one life’s mysterious souls who enjoys slipping out of sight quietly for long stretches of time but when he returns – do we know it! He returns in glory as a pirate strung with glinting medals to make a striking point.

    Ok – struck and bedazzled I may be Vicus – knocked me down again – one to you!

  23. >(Simon) Yes, they all have websites these days. The Carlisle one looks OK as well

    Gosh, makes you want to grab you bags and move up there.

    Sorry, that reply to Pete about ID cards should have been to Simon. Were you serious, Simon? I’ve yet to meet anyone who wants the damn things at all, let alone a card that holds details of how many pints you had last night.

    And to anyone who thinks ID cards are a good idea, just ask yourself how long it would be for this to happen, whatever comforting assurances were made initially about cards holding only basic data. How long before the thing can tell Big Bro your every movement, as well as what you’ve had to drink? They’re already talking about satellite tracking your car.

    Don’t forget, they promised us the EEC would only be a trading zone…

  24. Melissa – ‘struck and bedazzled’? I say. That’s a bit strong…

    Howard – but I find the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy funny too…

    Vicus – it wozzatypo. Brought on by enthusiasm for the cause, no doubt…

  25. > (Mark) but I find the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy funny too…

    What? The Qeezon attacked Planet Beta Hedgehog with his blam-blam scuttle gun and turned it into a banana fruitcake.

    Have I missed something? I’ve tried, believe me I’ve tried. Forced myself to sit through a number of episodes to see what all the fuss is about, but it does nothing. Gimme Captain Kirk any day.

  26. We could always return to the days of State-owned pubs in Carlisle. They were truly Soviet in their lack of investment and grimness.

    My own view is that people are ill-behaved when drunk because they know that there are no effective punishments for serious crimes like stabbing assaults let alone minor vandalism. A few year long custodials and life for the former would soon lead to an improvement in behaviour.
    People aren’t stupid – even when drunk.

  27. Mark Gamon:

    No worries. In no way am stuck in soft-fairy willowy mode – just lazy summer season bringing on a case of starry-eyedness.

    However, can quickly revert to cool business mode.

    Great to hear from you again.

  28. Is everyone unable to see the tens of thousands of people, young and old, who go out on a weekend, enjoy a large quantity of drinks and still act with decorum?

    It seems the small proportion of people who cause trouble, be it violent or intimidation, are the ones who are tarring the rest of us.

    My ocassional binge drinking leads to no amount of raucous noise, no amount of violence, merely a joyful mood and a chance to unwind in a way I find enjoyable after a hard week at work. The European nations of which people are so quick to promote are filled with localised crime and local incidents just like our nation is. The notion that because a signification portion of crimes are drink related, doesnt mean removing the drink will remove the crime.

    Those who dislike the drunkness of people should question whether these drunks are particularly fond of their choice of entertainment, whereas those who break the law (in either group) should be dealt with accordingly.

    Live and let others live

  29. Yes we should act with decorum (Fisheries on Aug 19th nr Boxmoor I hear), but what are the human rights implications when a lobster, clearly drunk, fills in a job application for a job with leisure services, using someone else’s language? Is this theft?

    Should the said lobster be called to interview, his alternative language requests being Old Church Slavonic or Serbian, what happens when upon attendence he has a modicum of proficiency in his first choice for verbal communication, Bulgarian? The human rights implications, not to say the translator’s expenses are potentially enormouse! Then, think again, should the case, perchance only, fall under the world spotlight (ie Mona Lisa, which of course is not yet missing, found in local shop) there is the chance for severe disruption to international relations.

    Suppose a moderately performing local authority with a kind of permanently ensconsed leadership, and warring opposition parties, were actualy to become the benchmark for international relations? Preposterous of course! Next comment.

  30. In the beach community I live in the bars actually close at 2am. But a walk along the beach at 5am consists of strolling past comatose or belligerent teenagers itching for a fight, the boys too. No technicolor blotches on the boardwalk but a tourist might assume that we have very large seagulls from the size of the puddles left by our descendents. At least if the draft(National Service?) were revived a big portion of the drinkers would be in other parts of the world.

  31. If people do not have access to drink then they don’t get drunk. The law aready exists that says licensed premises must not serve drunks. Just amend the law so that the penalty for doing so means the immediate closing of the bar until the legal process is complete. Given the average of 6 months for this type of case coming to court would you risk not being able to open you bar for 6 months because you served a drunk?. There is enough CCTV cameras around these days to identify where a drunk on the street got his last fix so just go in and close the place down for 6 months (this includes supermarkets and off-licences). It only needs to happen a couple of times for landlords to get the message. Do the same with underage drinkers as well. Also do what some states in Canada do and license the number of people allowed in a bar to the number of seats plus a small percentage standing and likewise the penalties for exceeding this are immediate closure until the legal process is finished.

  32. Is there a reason the text is so small on the carlisle website? Or is that just my computer playing up?

  33. I covered this story in my blog recently. I believe all this arguing and to-ing and fro-ing will come to naught in the end. The extension of drinking – as with the extension of gambling – is simply a means for an increasingly cash-strapped Labour government to increase its revenue to pay for its fiscal extravagence.

    As with all things Labour, people don’t matter – ideology does. Where the link between drink and crime, abuse and breakdown are obvious to us it’s the link between drink, tax and revenue that sets their juices running.

    GM

  34. I’m afraid “View/Text Size” doesn’t work on comments here, although I’d like to use it. [Something to do with the stylesheet?]

    While I’m here:

    >”The law aready exists that says licensed premises must not serve drunks. Just amend the law so that the penalty for doing so means the immediate closing of the bar …”

    This sounds eminently sensible to me, for both Britain and Ireland. So why isn’t it being implemented? I’m assuming not enough police on the beat. Ergo, more money required. Ergo, take it from somewhere else, or raise taxes. Ergo … etc etc

  35. Howard: Read the books…H2G2 might make a little more sense to you then.

    I understood that the proposed changes to the licensing laws was to allow pubs to stagger their chuck-out times, thereby stopping the streets being filled with drunks. Silly idea, because everyone will just go and drink in the pub that’s open latest.

    I don’t think legalising marijuana would be the solution either. Making it mandatory might be, though!

    ;o)

  36. Evening all

    Richard above said: ‘It requires large quantities of drink for a rather reserved nation to be able to loosen its inhibitions.’

    Indeed. The only time you really see us Brits talk to complete strangers in public (in London – it’s different in other cities – like York in my experience) is waiting fot the last train and buses after midnight when they’re pissed. Our inhibitios are consideerable, evenafterthe Diana blub-fest.

    Will we ever be as cool as the French or Spanish or Germans? We certainly don’t drink like them – with food, wine being a favourite (although wine consumption is actually declining in France, such is the fell influence of the Evil Empire and its pissy beers like the heavily-promoted Budweiser (a rip off of a very good – and cheaper -Czech lager that the Yanks tried to injunct).

    Tony + his cronies are, as ever, in the pockets of the multi-nationals – the Seagrams + the other big alcohol companies. Remember Ecclestone, Formula 1 and Blair’s highly convincing line Hey Im a pretty straight kinda guy. Do not buy another 2nd hand car from that salesman, folks.

  37. I’m sorry Kevin, but I don’t entirely agree with your analysis of the reticence of the population of the UK. It depends upon the individual, not the whole Nation. If an individual is of a mind to communicate; communication will be attempted. If the first sally is not reciprocated, THAT’S where the problems start. That is fact, not imagination.

    The stiff upper lip syndrome is also a myth, started by some Victorian Empire builder as an excuse for Tommy Atkins not showing emotion when being shipped to some far flung corner of the Empire, without the slightest idea as to when , and indeed if, he might see the green green grass of home again.

    As for the psyche of the habitual binge drinker, one has only to look at Hogarth’s vivid imagery of the joys of the gin palaces to realise the problem is not new. It has been with the Brit since before Shakespeare, A fait accompli; a badge of honour for a real chap,( although chapesses are as common these days as chaps).

    Is British life, no matter where in the World one may be ,so Goddam miserable that it can only be tolerated from the citadel of total drunkdom? 24 hour alcohol licencing is the diabolical result of another New Labour scheme to get into your combined pockets; to further increase their total take of your so
    called, “after tax”, income. Do not be fooled, or is that exhortation too late.

    Pity about the Test result.

  38. Gosh I agree with Kevin B! It really is too bad of those damned Yankees to frogmarch (oops!) all those poor French people into supermarkets, Starbuck’s, MacDonald’s etc and force them to consume stuff they don’t want. Presumably that is what happens?

  39. Howard – yes, but Kirk isn’t meant to be funny. I’m not sure what episodes you forced yourself to sit through, but I strongly recommend you pick up the first book next time you spy a copy on someone’s bookshelf. There may yet be hope…

    Melissa – the contrast between the two extremes of coolbusiness mode and softfairywillowy mode is enough to fry the synapses. Is there no happy medium?

    BTW, you do realise you’re now a punctuation mark? Please check the comments on Vicus’s site if this is confusing…

  40. Am new to this sort of thing, but just wanted to say that as someone who likes to go out at the weekend and who occasionally and inadvertently
    gets smashed, the problem really lies with the bad drunks, like the man in Boris’s article. I am always aware when out at night that any involuntary movement or glance in the wrong direction just might result in a bottle being smashed in my face or my eyes gouged out by a random angry girl (or man, although oddly, in my experience, the laws of chivalry do cover drunken brawls). Just for the record, I am generally a well behaved, polite person and like most people will avoid a fight at all costs.

    The identity card issue has been scoffed at here, and while I would hate there to be any record of my drinking habits, I don’t see why a public drinking licence shouldn’t be considered for individuals, not just pubs and clubs. Just like driving on the roads, there is some comfort to be had that people aren’t just allowed to hop in a car and drive around once they turn 17. Should anyone drive like a maniac they quite rightly have their licence revoked. Couldn’t we do the same for crazy, violent boozers? Then we could all have a drink in relative safety, reserving the right to get blotto should we not infringe upon the enjoyment of others (people with points for unnacceptable behaviour can still drink at home, just not in public places, to be fair to any alkies).

    And if it were issued on every citizen’s 18th birthday it would be a reliable way to prevent underage drinking too.

    I know this seems drastic, but desperate times and all that. ?

  41. Mark Gamon

    I wouldn’t dream for one moment that you might be hogging the comments (re comment now deleted…). You have been exemplary on this site and your comments ever welcome. BTW ~ synapses ? what an original word – that must be a Borisism (tricky and unusual word)

    You’ve got me guessing. Not sure what this is about Vicus on his site, will have to go over to investigate! This blogging world is as fun as a Sherlock Holmes mystery

  42. Mark G, Simon H, Vicus et al

    Have now responded at vicusscurra blogspot.com chronicles

    What fun!!

    @

  43. > I don’t see why a public drinking licence shouldn’t be considered for individuals.

    Neat idea, Girlwithtattoo, but how would it work without another army of bureaucrats who’d have to issue a licence to everyone who uses a pub? And what about tourists?

    Presumably you would have to be hauled before the beak and convicted of something before your licence was revoked. Would the net scoop up all those people who, while spoiling it for everyone by by being a flaming nuisance, do not necessarily commit an arrestible offence, or one that it’s practical to arrest them for?

    On the right track though. Can it be refined?

  44. Hi Girlwithtattoo:

    Nice to come across the use of that venerable word Blotto, a refreshing change from the usual Wankered/Trolleyed/****holed –

    My motto:
    Blotto

    (Thanks Vivian Stanshall, formerly of this world and the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band.)

    There is an astonishing level of hypocrisy over what Mac correctly Id’s as our centuries-old capacity to consume industrial quantities of alcohol in our feckless pursuit of Oblivion.

    There may perhaps be some connection with our centuries-old capacity to unleash violent attacks on Johnny Foreigner (and then our own) in pursuit of Empire/establishing that We Are The Daddy/ a laugh?

    Melissa: This may be less than chivalrous but Synapse is not an original word but a basic term in neuroscience. I suspect that you (like me) had a wholly Arts-driven education post-16, a result of the Two Cultures (Arts v Sciences) that I now believe is a recipe for economic disaster in this country.

    Solution: abolish the A-Level qualification (now terminally compromised by the latest results and the wibbly AS-level) and roll on/out the Baccalaureate. (Oh dear Jack, that’s a ghastly French creation is it not?…)

    Broad-spectrum education post-16 encompassing both Arts + Sciences has to be preferable to our historic Oxbridge snobbery about technical education /applied science/ oily rags. The Germans in particular have both an education policy geared to scientific excellence new technology and to promoting excellent teachers/lecturers by paying them properly and creating respect for education workers. Here a youngish lecturer with a Ph.D is typically paid less than a white collar worker. And we wonder why lectuers up stumps and bugger off to the USA to be paid 3x £.

    On a personal note, many moons ago I taught for 2 years in Harrow (a tertiary college, not the place up the hill). Despite it being a leafy middle-class area I was struck (not literally – but these days?)by some students’inability to think beyond their own experience and formation, thus leading to the labelling of Geeks and Techies, etc. My daughter (English Lit)reports from Cambridge that Natskis (Natural Science students) + their ilk are held in amused contempt by their artsy-fartsy peers, the ones who will go on to the City, Westminster, the BBC, etc.

    (Memo 2 self:) Why ARE we arts graduates so unashamed of our scientific ignorance?

  45. Probably , Dear Kevin, because the two co-existing worlds,( Arts v Science), do not in reality , co-exist excepting in some very unusual examples,(Da Vinci, who encompassed every sort of knowledge).

    Science has at its root has the latin ‘Scientia’, meaning,” to have knowledge; something to be learned systematically “.

    Art, on the other hand, has the meaning of, “To learn, or to acquire skill by experience and by observation of a branch of scholarship”.

    Your proclamatory question that Arts Grads. are unashamed of ignorance in things scientific is surely a rhetorical one.

    Equally surely it is all just a question of actual knowledge versus supposition,as in Philosophy, if indeed the abyss you appear to suggest is there at all.

    As for the Baccalaureate, surely the argument for the trans European equalising of exams is already in the pipeline somewhere. There was a time when a student’s achievement of straight “A” or “A” star results was as rare as hens’ teeth. Compare todays results with 20 years ago :60 years ago. The synapses of the human brain have not suddenly become so superconductive as to allow the evolutionary process to accelerate off the scale of probability. The answer probably lies in the ratio of coursework to observed classwork, with the resultant examinations.

    Meanwhile , both Sci. undergrad. and Arts undergrad. get equally legless when they have the wherewithal . Back to square one.

  46. What’s all this big girls blouse impression Boris? You could’ve taken him!

    Oops, not the sort of measured serious response you were hoping for eh? So sorry, allow me to make up for it by buying you a drink next time I see you. With your build I’m sure you’ve played rugby, ergo you can probably drink me under the table. Mmn, actually I’m not sure I can afford you. Best stick to you pressing drinks on me then.

    BTW, I went to a dry state (in America) once and have never seen so much alcohol. Everyone drove over the state line to get it and drank at home – all really nice people who kept pressing a drink in each hand. I’ve never been so p****d!

    PS: HAPPY BIRTHDAY STANLEY – (tommorow, thurs)

  47. Er…and another thing:

    Sci student: If we assume that T is the tolerance of the average person and O represents the opening hours, $ stands for funds available and H for health impairment then it is reasonable to conclude that H = O/$ + T ..or some permutation of T,O,$,H.

    Art student: how do you feel about that?

  48. Actually (don’t call me Ashley), until Jaq touched on it, no-one had mentioned Prohibition until now. In an Anglo-Saxon society, alcohol exists to be drunk, in order to get drunk. As the judge in the original piece mentioned, a Continental style culture doesn’t work unless ou have Continental style people. And the charming vomitoholic Burberry-clad underclass (most of whom seem to drink at my local, unfortunately) are never going to be persuaded to wear designer shades and sit on pavement tabels sipping Pernod.

    Personally, I don’t think the 24 hr licensing laws are too bad a thing as it will stagger the closing times of the pubs fairly successfully. As any PC will tell you, a policeman’s biggest headaches are at 11.15pm and 2.30am, when pubs and clubs respectively disgorge their patrons, simultaneously, into each other. Result – fight. And it’s not as if every pub will apply for a 24 hr license – there’s not the demand, let alone the desire of the local council to accede to the request.

    The other reason that I’m for the change in licensing laws is that the Daily Mail is against it. And even as a Tory, I’ve long gone by the motto that if the curtain-twitching readership of the Hate Mail don’t like something, it must be a Good Thing.

  49. I’m with Boris. Us Brits love to get “malighters” and view with complete admiration someone who can function the next day with enough of a hangover to look shabby, but not too much to force other people into having to work harder. No way that’ll ever change, so we might as well have the establishments oen in which to indulge.

    As for Melissa – dear @, have you changed your name by Deed Poll yet? You could be an urban legend by the end of the month. Grasp it by the horns of an Ampersand, take the punctuation challenge and tell the world that you’re famous. And possibly an MP’s researcher. If you do this, I’ll even edit the homage to your boss chez moi to include a special “Authorised @ Appreciation Association” (A@AA)…

  50. Researcher? Good grief Mel is no mere researcher she’s a secretary! (last time I looked) You know, one of the army of stalwart women who guard thier charges, in good times and bad, through gritted smiles. Actually, I would go so far as to say that where Boris Johnson is concerned, Mel is THE secretary. An urban legend? Definately!

  51. Melissa – couldn’t find your response at Vicus’s but that may be operator error on my part. However I take it you approve. Now we must all work hard put our shoulders to the wheel etc to introduce the Melissa into the common tongue. Boris moves in exalted circles – perhaps he could put in a good word next time he has an email address to give out in polite company?

    PS: It occurs to me this might cause some confusion in the early days. ‘melissamelissaborisjohnsonoffice’ doesn’t sound much like an email address. But we must persevere – once upon a time, ‘gay’ meant ‘jolly’ and ‘at the end of the day’ meant… well, ‘at the end of the day’. Look at them now!

  52. I don’t know about this French baccy Kevin, dear chap. I gave up years ago but Golden Virginia was good enough for me.

    Since we seem to have drifted onto what goes on in our schools, perhaps I can comment that what exams our youngers and worsers are taking is only part of the problem. I have two children at a relatively reasonable comprehensive. They seem to get on with a good number of their contemporaries from a wide social and ethnic background. They also seem to be relatively ‘normal’ in picking up their fair share of detentions for forgetting kit, talking in class and so on. But what bugs them and their friends is the minority of losers who seriously disrupt classses and then get little or no punishment. Indeed it may lead to having a couple of hours in the specially provided facilities where they sit around in easy chairs or play on computers. Just to make sure that the school can have the full benefit of these ‘real life’ people there is a special rapid response team that calls round for them if they don’t show up.

    Added to this RE classes which seem to more about the sort of political correctness found in Guardian features (“Black men are homophobic because of rape by white plantation owners so its all our fault” – a real one from the last time I read said journal, the doctor has advised me to give it up due to blood pressure), tick box approaches to solving problems and a general reluctance to really face up to problems (gangs of Asian kids beating up white kids is regarded as a racial problem but only after the facts have been tampered with to make the group of white kids minding their own business a “white gang”) and you may not wonder why I find it difficult to always back up the school when my children and their friends question the rights and wrongs of how it is run.

    Maybe this leads back to the start. Unlike these civilised continental Johnnies it seems that we Brits have rather a fondness for too much sherbert. I remember that a large number of my contemporaries, including yours truly, would get blotto (you’re right, it’s a wonderful word Kevin) and sometimes do some truly despicable things. However there was a feeling that we were well out of order in doing so. What we have now is a feeling that people have ‘issues’ if they behave badly and negotiation starts there. The losers at school feel that they are within their rights to spew out their anomie, alienation and angst onto the rest of the world, and are doing the rest of the world a favour if they condescend to engage in discussion about it.

    Modest proposal: Resettle the inhabitants of the Isle of Man in Provence. Parachute late night trouble makers and class room disrupters in after a fair trial. People who have the same interests should share with each other. Every week a Navy vessel could show up to pick up any whose attitudes had demonstrably changed for the better. Would this be a worse situation than now?
    (We would have to run the risk of lots of neo-Sartreans then clogging up our pubs I suppose but intellectual chunder is cheaper on the dry cleaning than the diced carrot variety)

  53. Dear Merkin, Jaq, Mark

    I am truly grateful for all you say – but you do realise I am merely a tributary, a pinprick, a cloud wafting off into the horizon on the outer reaches of the Great Boris Johnson multifaceted life?!

    Yes, and I do hugely and greatly appreciate your comments. It must be a calling.

    A post from Boris coming soon on the nation’s favourite painting. Stay with us …

  54. Recently we have heard a lot the quotation attributed to of Voltaire.

    “I disagree with what you have to say but will fight to the death to protect your right to say it.”

    This morning the BBC?s Sara Montague, or one of Jenni Murray?s other nieces, deployed the quote in reference to an Islamacist preacher whose radio station calls for the killing of British troops. It really is quite quaint how the section of the payroll vote that will hound people over alleged or real racist statements, for example, has suddenly become a beacon of tolerance for people, usually on our benefit payroll (but sometimes without a vote ? how much longer can this scandal endure? In fact such trenchant critics of our decadent society should have 10 votes each), who are actively trying to destroy a free society.

    As it happens there is some doubt about where the original quote came from. See http://www.classroomtools.com/voltaire.htm. However it is pretty clear that this comes close to Voltaire?s view. And, as a first approximation, the old fellow was quite right. In his time the idea of entertaining new ideas which one seriously disagreed with was a breath of fresh air. A possible source of this attitude may be as follows. (Thanks to authors of http://www.classroomtools.com/voltaire.htm again).
    ?In his A Book of French Quotations (1963), Norbert Guterman suggested that the probable source for the quotation was a line in a 6 February 1770 letter to M. le Riche: “Monsieur l’abb鬠I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write.”?
    There is all the difference in the world between being passionately for the free exchange of ideas with a view to getting closer to the truth by rational argument, for which the free publication of such ideas is a necessary prerequisite, and saying that anyone can say anything they want. Popper cites the example of the man in a crowded theatre who does not have the right to call out ?Fire?. Even more so does explicit encouragement to violence against sections of society or the society itself fall under this prohibition. Popper goes further:

    ?If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed and tolerance with them?

    ?I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterances of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force: for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach the to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols.?

    (I am grateful to Julian Lewis for providing this extract in his letter to the Daily Telegraph as I was originally unable to locate it.)

    This is the second approximation which solves the paradox of intolerance and marks out genuine liberalism, to which both progressives and conservatives can subscribe, from the sentimental self-flagellation and general wussiness of the grotesque parodies such as Robert Fisk, the Guardian, most BBC reporters and that old fraud AWB for example.

    What?s this got to do with binge drinking? Not much I?m afraid but it does follow on from previous discussions.

  55. I certainly agree that our town centres are remarkably unpleasant places to be on a Friday or Saturday night. I disagree with the notion that the fault is with the pubs and clubs selling alcohol to drunks – quite apart from anything else, how is a barperson supposed to know whether the reasonably sober chap at the bar is buying a round for other reasonably sober people, or for the paralytic jelly in the corner?

    The fault lies entirely with the individuals getting drunk and acting in a disorderly manner (Does anyone remember individual responsibility? That thing we had before the nanny state poked its nose in?) and the remedy lies there too.

    It is not drunkenness per se which is the problem. If you get completely plastered, and wander home inanely grinning at passers-by, you’re not a problem. If you start wanting to fight passers-by, you are a problem.

    So, for the violent unpleasant drunks, a few days in jail. This doesn’t have to be done in a particularly systematic manner – we don’t have either enough cells of enogh police to catch every one in one night, but if each Friday and Saturday night, a few police officers were to randomly round up a half-dozen of the drunken yob element, have them sleep it off in the cells overnight, in front of the magistrate the next morning, and in a prison cell until Wednesday, it might start to have an effect.

    If people have to take a couple of days off work because they’re in prison, they might well decide not to be such an idiot the next time.

    Station a couple more police officers in the popular places, and deliver on-the-spot fines for littering for the depositors of “pavement pizzas”.

    You should be able to get as drunk as you like, whenever you like, as long as you don’t bother everyone else whilst doing so.

  56. Sam: loath though I may be to start an argument, I cannot let your laissez faire attitude to landlords go by without at least a comment on landlord’s legal obligations . A landlord is obliged to keep an orderly house: amongst other things, this means he must be aware of, and continually observe and assess, the state of his clientele. He may not aid / abet the purchase of alcohol for anyone not entitled to be served. This includes those under the legal age for alcohol consumption , as well as those already too intoxicated to be able to conduct themselves in a manner conducive to public order.. In other words; the landlord IS responsible for the immediate behaviour of ALL his clients.

    That which transpires outwith his / her establishment is deemed not to be his / her responsibility, if the customer left the premises acting in a reasonably sober manner. Failing this, a case could be made for the prosecution of said landlord, citing landlords’ ultimate responsibility for ensuring the sober and orderly public behaviour of his customers. I believe the charge could be contravention of the licensing laws. Threat and the actual practice of revoking landlord’s licences for repeated failure to fulfil his / her responsibilities would ensure better run establishments.

    I would have thought our police had more than enough to do, with the widespread, and by now regular, drink associated violence, than to be used as extra, after hours door personnel for these establishments.

    I believe that the 24 hour licensing is wrong, not in itself, but because the widespread British habit of binge drinking is wrong. The Continentals have different habits, such as sitting down in bistros and bars, which generally have waiter service, and where food is often available, in the form of snacks. Violence is a rarity.
    In all the years I lived in Germany and Holland and even Norway( where prices alone are enough to keep most people out of the bars), I seldom saw such disgusting behaviour as is here commonplace.

  57. The learned judge expressed grave doubts about the government’s attempt to promote a more Continental approach to drinking through the relaxation of the licensing laws. For once a member of the judiciary, not generally noted for having their finger on the pulse (Who is Gazza?), seems more in touch than our esteemed governors.

    While drinking will be liberalised, smoking will be prohibited in pubs. However, there appears to be a loophole in the proposed new laws whereby pubs that do not serve food will gain some elbow room and not be subject to a total smoking ban.

    Result: pubs will drop their food menus in the evening, people will get even more pissed, and the fond dream of a Euro drinking culture will be further away than ever.

    Reminds me for some reason of the judge who admonished a yob who had committed several public order offenses while under the influence that he was to stay off the booze – “And by stay off I mean not even a small sherry before dinner.”

  58. Having dined in such company, (admittedly in Germany),I would say that , for a judge to dine , even en famille, it would be almost beyond belief for such a person, devoid of the common touch,as they sometimes are, he / she would start an evening without the appropriate anteprandial snifter.

    Elevation, (more especially in law circles ),in my opinion, dims the eyesight, or at least the perceived perspective on life as it really is.

    BTW,( Further to Kevin’s ,” Not even a small sherry”. What about the Learned Judge in the Lady C’s Lover trial, who asked of the jury, ” Would you allow your servants to read this?”.

    Is there anybody home?. They sometimes seem not to to wish to be of this universe , and whilst they areheld, rightly, in hifgh esteem , when it is perceived that they are acting contra to overwhelming popular opinion, they should be relieved of their positions. They are , after all , the title notwithstanding , public servants, and should take public sentiment into account.

    Hands up , those who are in favour of 24 hour boozing? So few?

  59. Let’s not kid ourselves that liberalisation of drinking laws – like liberalisation of gambling law – is anything other than just another desperate wheeze to extract taxes from an overburdened taxpayer to finance an overburdened welfare economy.

    While we count the costs of these stupid laws, Gordon Brown counts the money.

    GM

  60. Agreed, Gary. All this liberalisation of booze and gambling is driven by the Treasury’s desperate need to avoid raising income tax while plugging the hole in the listing Ship of State.

    Very good article on binge drinking by Sean McCloughlin in last Saturday’s Guardian:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/guardian_jobs_and_money/story/0,3605,1552664,00.html

    “Binge drinking is consumerism with sick on its shoes.”

    As ever we get the society we deserve. Instead of pointing the finger at yobs we should perhaps inspect our own whited sepulchres.

    That was Thought for Today with the Rev. Kev…

  61. Boris desperately tries to stick to the Tory line of ‘liberalisation is madness’, but even he is forced to conclude, “The awful truth is that I doubt the relaxation of the licensing laws will make much difference; in fact, if they slow down these binges, the new hours might even help.”

    Which is pretty much what Labour have been saying from the start! So what is all the fuss about, all this Daily Mail fuelled panic over what amounts to minor changes!

    What the Tories havn’t grasped is that this change is actually quite popular on the ground. The solution to our binge drinking problem lies not in the hours of consumption but the type of venues and location.

    What did the police (eagerly backed by councils in search of new revenue) think would happen when they insisted on locating all the pubs+clubs together in the middle of our town centres and handing it over to the big chains who chase higher turnover to maximise profits. This means places like Yates Wine Lodge and others encouraging speed drinking by ripping out seats and making conversation impossible with loud music. People who stand up, drink more and have a greater propensity for violence. Just look at how seating has gentrified football.

    To top it all off they are all turfed out onto the streets together at the same time with the inevtiable fighting for kebabs and taxis! Lets force these places to be all seating (like football).

    The new laws will mean people who want a drink late at night can have one in their quiet local rather than being forced into the centre of town and this binge drinking hell! The dispersal of people around town and the varying times that they leave, will alleviate all sorts of trouble. It might take a while for the new laws to bed down, but this is the most sensible thing Labour has done to control drink related trouble!
    Even Boris has reluctantly seen their point of view!

  62. Yes, I agree/disagree. I am Amy Honor. I work in a doughnut shop in Raynes Park. I also work in a cake place. That says a lot about me doesn’t it?! I like to come on this website and read the news. It’s all about me sometimes. If you would like information about how to successfully make Krispy Kreme doughnuts, please email me at amy_honor@hotmail.com. I’d be more than happy to help! Smile 🙂

  63. Amy

    Is it true that Krispy Kreme Doughnuts were only available in the UK for an exclusive period thru’ Harrods? And that they are rubbish, albeit baked rather than fried rubbish and therefore healthly-ish rubbish?

    I think we should be told.

    K-Mart

  64. Boris Pontificates on Booze

    Boris Johnson holds a rather unique place in my heart, largely just by being a Tory MP that doesn’t make me physically sick. He seems like a sweet soul, though…

  65. Boris rocks; but his Thursday column missed one facet of the new licensing laws. I go to Charterhouse, a semi-decent public school where, for the last forty years (or thereabouts), the school has provided a Club where the Upper Sixth could purchase a maximum of two alcoholic beverages. Although silly incidents on the golf course have still occured, the fact remained that the old system worked. Unfortunately, the new licensing laws have made it impossible for the school to provide this, except for one day a week with a full three couirse meal (which gets around the problem, but is obviously impractical). Knowing just how easy it is to smuggle booze in (not from pewrsonal experience, I hasten to add) it seems inevitable that the new rules will cause chaos in our publuic schools; many of which have stopped the flow of alcohol altogether.

    Freddie

  66. At first I felt the comment submitted by Neil Harding was quite outrageous but after some contemplation I feel the seating theory is a reasonable idea. At first I had visions of a bar full of ‘bouncers’ shouting at people to sit down, but if set about in the correct manner it could work. For a start I feel table service would be a necessity. My friend visited Berlin recently and said every bar he visited included table service. This may lead to a very civil atmosphere all round, and having worked in a bar for 5 years I feel this could cut down on the drunken frustrations and alcohol related assaults occur prior to outbursts of

  67. If I might be allowed to deviate slightly from the ,”booze / time to”, discussion for a moment perhaps another licensing law should be addressed:-
    Since the laws allowing the consumption of alcohol on licensed premises appears to be going on apace, without too many giving a tuppeny damn about the increase in street based, so called, “petty”, crime, in the form of assault and perhaps worse: why is the Government not getting on with more really important regulatory legislation?

    For instance; Bliar has at last admitted that the Country is powerless in ridding itself of the plague of troublesome priests and hangers on; due to the PC attitude towards us by other, signally un -PC EU countries. France , for example has no scruples when throwing out her undesirables, and as far as I know , the Nanny EU has not complained too loudly.

    If our laws ‘licensing’ the extradition of undesirables to their countries of
    origin , or elsewhere, are unsound , according to the PC brigade, let them be changed. They are not carved in stone, and if the rhetoric of this government is to be believed, it is as eager as the general population to rid our cities of the hate ranting preachers.

    Neither we , nor the Government, want these extremists in our midst: ergo ,let the Government ensure that legislation, enabling their removal, is in place , in order that we may deport them , and at last ,have some peace.

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