Little to say for myself

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

More Blether from Theodore Dalrymple

Theodore's at it again, with this opinion article in today's Telegraph. It's a bit like reading Dear Bill in Private Eye, but without the wit:
That the British are now a nation of drunken brutes, justly despised throughout the world wherever they congregate in any numbers, is so obvious a fact that it should require no repetition. A brief visit to the centre of any British town or city on a Saturday night - or indeed, almost any night - will confirm it for those who are still in doubt. There they will see scenes of charmless vulgarity, in which thousands of scantily clad, lumpen sluts scream drunkenly, and men vomit proudly in the gutters.

The Government, whose solution to any social problem is to make it worse, now proposes that the British, having conclusively proved that they cannot (or rather, will not) control themselves, should be granted even more licence to make a public nuisance of themselves whenever they feel like it, which is often. They will henceforth be able to drink in pubs and bars at all times of the day and night, 24 hours a day, instead of just most of the day and night. If there were shares in debauchery, I'd buy them now.
And it goes on in similar vein. Hilarious stuff. He's just the sort of tolerant, nurturing person you'd want as your GP. Yep, believe it or not, he's one of our great nation's health guardians.

He seems to think that the level of alcohol consumption by young people is somehow The Government's fault. I see it rather as the work of big business, operating in a free market (following the politics of Dr. Dalrymple's persuasion), to pour alcopops into as many young people as possible before they're old enough to be accountable for the consequences. I've been at social gatherings recently where 13 and 14 year-olds have been downing Bacardi Breezers like they were Orangina - so it's hardly surprising that they take this out into public places a few years later. It took me a few years of progression: sipping first sweet cider, and then lager, before developing a mature enough taste for beer to drink sufficient volume to get pissed - by which time I was in my late teens. Nowadays, you can acquire the habit to get completely off your face long before any acne has appeared on it.

No amount of restriction to licensed drinking hours is going to curb that habit - the young will just resort to what they do habitually in places like Ibiza, where bar prices are high - they'll just down a few pints of Vodka and Red Bull before going out. The purpose of lifting the closing time restriction is that the numbers of drunk people on the street at any one time would be more manageable, since they would stagger their staggering time, so to speak.

The theory, I understand, is that the problem of public drunkenness in Britain (not just of public disorder) is actually caused by the shortness of available drinking time. People have enough to drink to get pretty lairy and self-expressed, and then are turfed out into the street, en bloc, at the height of their vigour. If pubs stayed open longer, binge-drinkers would not only get so falling-down drunk they'd be incapable of causing any trouble, they would also have a far bigger hangover to re-educate them the next day. The rest of the clientele would have no compulsion to "get it down their necks", since they wouldn't be working to a deadline.

At least that's what the Police suggest. And they'd know, wouldn't they?

posted by Plig | 16:23 |

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