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Yet another 'binge drinking' scare

The 'meeja' is having one of its periodic panic attacks (what are we up to now - one a week?) about Britons drinking too much, especially Up North. I've included the rather arresting Hogarth as a reminder that there is absolutely nothing new under the sun. My compatriots have been over-imbibing for centuries, and indeed it seems to be entrenched in our popular culture. Doubtless there will be lots of hand-wringing articles in the 'serious' newspapers tomorrow bemoaning the ghastly proles getting lagered up and being so very different from our frightfully civilised neighbours across the Channel. They will not, however, bother to examine research showing quite how much the French drink, let alone the Finns and sundry others. I'm sure we could all knock up a Daily Mail standard 1000 word 'why oh why?' article in no time.

I do not believe that there is substantially more drinking - especially among men - now than there was a few decades, or come to that, a few centuries back, but rather it has become more visible. I would put this down to City Centre superpubs having taken so much of the market, and the mass exit at closing time makes matters all the more obvious. When people did the decent thing and supported their local hostelry, chucking out time looked rather less like the Fall of Rome and the presence of friends, neighbours and relatives would have acted as a significant restaining inflluence on behaviour, if not necessarily on the quantity consumed.
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Anonymous rigger mortice said... 3:47 pm

it;'s one of the few things that this govt has done that I admire.It took guts to get rid of the ridiculous licensing laws.all they did was cause trouble at kebab shops and taxis.

Now the night peters out more sedately.also means that you don't have the 10 to 2 rush for the ladies  

Blogger Ellee Seymour said... 3:49 pm

Did they use to count units in those days?

Will Self was hankering back to the old days in the ES yesterday, urging spectators standing in the pit at The Globe to fornicate as they watch performances penned by the Bard, which he said was normal behaviour in days of old. I guess that could be blamed on drunken debauchery too, we are much more modest today, perhaps the Ministry of Good Behaviour should take that into account too.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 3:56 pm

Rigger - Amen to that.

Ellee - I can just picture the scene: 'Thou hast already quaffed a dozen units of mead of the night Barnabus, and be most unfit to drive thy oxen'.

I have a friend who has done some directing at The Globe, so I'll have to ask her if there have been any outbreaks of this lately.  

Anonymous Verity said... 10:23 pm

Also, when people - especially men - supported their local hostelry, there were always friends, acquaintances, neighbours who would see them safely home if they got legless.  

Blogger Praguetory said... 1:27 pm

I can't go with the flow on this one I'm afraid. The licensing law changes wasn't a case of guts. It was another example of NuLabour being in thrall to big business (please file next to the Gambling Bill).

I have no problem with staggered closing times etc but the superpub has been a most unwelcome development in recent times. Any pub where there are no seats and nowhere to put your drink down (thus encouraging binge drinking) is a disaster waiting to happen.

Nottingham centre is a good example of a city centre that has been spoilt by over-liberal handing out of superpub licenses.  

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