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Sunday, December 31, 2006

Some Title Containing the Words “Boozy Britain” 

Blears: No Easy Answers

Now here's a good story in the Daily Mail about binge drinking and the UK government:

The Labour party chairman conceded today that longer licensing hours have failed to break Britain's binge drinking habit.

Cabinet minister Hazel Blears said Britons enjoyed getting drunk too much to adopt a responsible continental-style drinking culture.

Why would you think that keeping pubs open all night would curb binge drinking? I mean, it's a wonderful idea, and I only wish Nova Scotia would do the same, but who would expect there would be less drinking going on? People who like drinking a lot will drink whenever they have an opportune moment at home. Drinking out is awfully expensive—and you can get thrown out if you're not careful—so there is really no way for anyone to have a binge in a bar, or at least a significant part of any binge. As most people know, the best binges start at home: You can make an inexpensive snack for yourself or a few guests; some of your guests may actually prefer to smoke dope, which is still a bit dicey in a public place; and so on.

The time was, people lived in a household with their family, some of whom mightn't necessarily have encouraged boozing in the home, so the bar was the only place for it. Now most people live by themselves, or with another boozer, so licensing laws don't mean as much.

The minister ultimately has no easy answers to this conundrum:'"So as a politician I don't think there are any easy answers," she told The Sunday Times.'



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