FOR PUBLIC DRINKING
BINGE DRINKING etc
latest update OCT 4th 2010
JANUARY 16th 2005
The sooner we get this pathetic business over the better. We are moving
by necessity towards a partial 24hr society. There is no way this can
be reversed. In other parts of Europe this does not present a problem
with the opening and closing of bars that sell alcoholic drinks,
because they have not been subject to regulations that insist on the
opening and closing times. In the UK, the simultaneous closing of pubs
and clubs has become a serious problem now that the effects of women's
lib, globalisation and a newly enriched sector of the community have
brought economic and social freedom to millions with insufficient
education, training and natural good sense to handle it. But they can
and will learn.
There is no doubt that a side effect of liberalising the licensing
hours will cause some new problems in some areas. But this can then be
dealt with by shutting down the premises that serve drunks who cause
problems. This should be done quickly and summararily, for a limited
period, after which they should be given the chance, if they make a
case for it,
to reopen and function properly. If they fail after the second attempt
it would seem they are not a runner.
One thing is clear: the status quo, where people whose jobs end at e.g.
11pm can't meet after work for a social drink, yet local communities
suffer from rowdy gangs of drunks in the street, is completely
unacceptable. Of course as usual those who resist change or
intervention think they can avoid the blame for unacceptable events
that are the result of doing nothing. The government must bite the
bullet and take the consequences - that means the blame for what goes
wrong and the credit for what goes right. The British public must grow
up and learn how to behave in public places. If they want to get drunk
they can do it at home.
APRIL 4th 2005
new blitz on Britain's binge drinking culture is under way with plans
to fine bar staff who serve drunken customers coming into force.
Underage drinkers are also targeted in
the Government crackdown.
will face a £50 charge and bar staff who serve drunken customers
be hit with an £80 on-the-spot fine under the new measures.
Office Minister Hazel Blears said: "We want to see a culture change
where a young person attempting to buy alcohol accepts that being asked
for ID is the norm.
two new penalty notices will help local police tackle underage drinking
and irresponsible selling which we know cause problems with
the last three weeks of last December, police and trading standards
officers found 32 per cent of off-licences selling to under-18s.
way of tackling the short term possible downside of
liberalisation, going for individuals rather than establishments. It
corresponds with the new idea of acting against individual fraudsters
instead of just closing down companies (when the same person can just
start a new one). In this case though it could be employees
rather than owners of premises in most cases. It's a bold idea. May be
it has been well thought through...
FEBRUARY 7th 2006
The first verdict on the changes in
the law indicate that they have been a success. I am not surprised.
There is also scope for refinement and improvement in the application,
so we can look forward to further progress. But it is early days. To
reverse the trend in overdrinking is something else.
NOVEMBER 20th 2006
The following news in today's Independent is
not in their online version. Why? It means anyone searching for any of
the words in it would not find this text:
"significantly" in Norwich since all-night drinking laws
were introduced a year ago, Norfolk police said. Weekend assaults
dropped from 101 in 2005 to 31 in 2006. The chief constable of
Norfolk Carole Howlett said in October that drinkers were no longer
gathering at night at the same time.
Right, now we can start to differentiate between the places where it
has got better and where it has not but needs to.
In the latter, establishments that serve drunks can be fined heavily.
If that does not produce a result, the fines can go towards building
some of the new prisons we need and the drinkers and suppliers of drink
can be accommodated therein.
This policy would be unbelievably easy to implement. It would be based
on video evidence only. Pick establishments that are causing trouble,
video the people coming out. If there is violence, there is the
evidence. Fine the establishment £1000 per violent drunk they
turn out (£500 for a first offence). They can then either refuse
future admission to these individuals or make sure they drink less.
Their choice. They need not even take the case to court unless they
Well that's better. The Independent
today has come out with a double page spread and a leader backing the
new drink laws, based on the news and the evidence. But the leader also
ends on the theme it was right to
trust the people, and not treat them like children. No, it has
worked by using simple psychology and treating the trouble-makers like
the children they are, while ceasing to annoy the grownups. Perhaps we
could look at the same approach to motorists and stop penalising safe
drivers while the idiots cause havoc.
MARCH 15th 2009
'Passive drinking' is blighting the nation, Sir Liam Donaldson warns
The nation is blighted by 'passive drinking' as the damage caused
by drink drivers, domestic violence, crime and anti-social behaviour
means innocent bystanders bear the brunt of the problem, Sir Liam
Donaldson, the Chief Medical Officer, has warned. He recommended
setting a minimum price per unit of alcohol at 50p and
tightening licensing laws so local authorities had to consider the
deaths and ill-health due to alcohol in the area before granting new
licenses for pubs or clubs.
The CMO is right. He has been accused of
interfering in politics and suggesting a scheme that would penalise
responsible drinkers. Not so.
a minimum retail price
based on the units of alcohol would only significantly raise the price
drinks being sold below the cost of production, either as loss leaders
to draw in customers to supermarkets, or as promotions, or dumping by
producers who have to move the stuff for cash flow reasons or to aim
for economy of scale depending on binge drinking of e.g. low quality
All of the above are 'market distortions', so the argument that
Donaldson's suggested measures would distort the market are not
tenable, they would reduce distortion.
The argument that he should keep out of politics and economics and
stick to medical advice is ridiculous - his job is to talk about health
in the political and economic context. Decisions are then taken by
parliament with the executive branch as a whole playing its full role.
The Prime Minister has (rightly) announced that he does not want well
behaved drinkers penalised. That needed to be said.
As Donaldson explained, the PM is a busy man and the public and
politicians do not yet appreciate the real detail of the suggested
regulation or its effect. They will get the message.
SEPTEMBER 08 2009
The headline below ought to be DOCTORS LOSE MARBLES.
I would be the first to agree that our society has a monstrous problem
at the moment, with some young people running amok while others are
showing us the finest example any generation has ever produced. It has
always been the case that any part of nature's bounty, when made
available to humans at a cost such that they can enjoy its pleasures
but over-consume if they lack either self discipline or that of
society, will sort out the sheep from the goats. The present problems
are not correctable by removing the danger. Quite the reverse! The
problem lies in the homes, schools and laws of our country. We should
be very grateful of the canary in the cage that shows us that if we do
not change our ways, our society will face a sick or violent reckoning
I have set out in previous entries here and elsewhere what needs to be
done. Advertising various alcoholic drinks through sponsorship of
popular sports is probably the very best way they can be advertised,
though supporting good TV content is not bad either. It is vital that
our youth should be exposed to every temptation under the sun, at the
earliest age that is relevant to them. They can perfectly easily be
given the advice and help and where necessary control to give them a
fair chance of handling it.
They are not being given that, and that is what has to change.
I respect Prof. Hastings, his reseach and methods, but he is apparently
out of his depth here completely. He has been very helpful in getting
us to the point where point-of-sale loss leaders in alcohol and other
subsidised sales can be stopped. This would be counterproductive.
As for what the advertisers themselves say, that the advertising makes
people choose between brands, that is true. If Magners had not employed
brilliant advertising and sales technique advice to the places it is
sold, nobody on earth would have switched the tasteless muck they sell
Doctors want booze marketing ban
By Nick Triggle
Health reporter, BBC News
There should be a ban on all alcohol advertising, including
sports and music sponsorship, doctors say.
The British Medical Association said the crackdown on marketing was
needed, along with an end to cut-price deals, to stop rising rates of
The industry spends £800m a year on promoting drinks - just a
quarter of which goes on direct advertising.
Doctors said action was essential as alcohol was now one of the
leading causes of early death and disability.
Only smoking and high blood pressure is responsible for a greater
burden of disease, according to the World Health Organization.
ALCOHOL AND SPORT Carling lager - Sponsors the football
league cup in England and also has deals for shirt sponsorship of
Celtic and Rangers in Scotland
John Smith's - Title sponsor of the Grand
National plus other race days at the majority of UK racecourses
Magners Irish Cider - Sponsors two British
rugby unions teams as well as Irish, Scottish and Welsh leagues
Johnnie Walker whisky - Sponsors of
Formula One team McLaren
The cost to the NHS for treating injury and illness linked to drink
been estimated to be anything up to £3bn a year in the UK.
It comes as alcohol consumption has been rising rapidly
in recent years with over a third of adults now drinking above the
But the report said there was particular concern about the impact
of marketing on young people.
The report points out that while the money spent on alcohol
- nearly £200m a year - remained significant, there had been a
in more subtle types of marketing.
The alcohol industry had, in particular, become a major
sponsor of sports events - second only to the finance sector in terms
of overall funding.
But the report also highlighted merchandising,
competitions and loyalty schemes as influential forms of marketing that
needed to be tackled.
And as well as calling for the outright ban marketing and
the BMA said there needed to be a reduction in licensing hours and
tougher rules in place on price.
The doctors' body once again reiterated its call for
minimum pricing to be introduced to help combat promotions such as
happy hours and two-for-one purchases and higher levels of tax.
Minimum pricing has already been proposed in Scotland, and the chief
medical officers in all the other UK nations have signalled their
approval for such a move.
But so far the Department of Health has resisted such
calls, preferring to encourage the industry to sign up to voluntary
codes to encourage responsible drinking.
However, it has signalled its intention to push through legislation
to stop cut-price promotions if necessary.
Dr Vivienne Nathanson, the BMA's head of science and ethics, said:
BMA is not anti-alcohol. As doctors our focus is to ensure that
individuals drink sensible so they do not put their health and lives in
THE ALCOHOL IMPACT Excessive consumption is linked to 60 different
including liver and brain damage, some cancers and other diseases such
as stroke and heart disease
The cost to the NHS for treating injury and illness
linked to alcohol is estimated at anything up to £3bn a year
But the costs to the wider economy are even greater
with loss of productivity said to be more than £7bn a year
Alison Rogers, chief executive of the British Liver Trust, said the
report put a "compelling case for change".
"Alcohol is now marketed as a staple part of our diet in the UK.
"The way it is advertised, positioned in stores and its sheer
leads people into feeling that buying and consuming large amounts of
alcohol regularly is just the same as life's essentials like bread and
And Don Shenker, of Alcohol Concern, added: "There's no
longer any doubt - the heavy marketing and promotion of alcohol,
combined with low prices - are encouraging young people to drink at a
level our health services are struggling to cope with."
But the Department of Health said its current approach
was working, saying measures such as the £10m Know Your Limits
health campaign to encourage responsible drinking were having an
A spokesman added: "We're working harder than ever to
reduce alcohol harm — but it's not always right to legislate. We take
all evidence into account and react proportionately."
Jeremy Beadles, chief executive of the Wine and Spirit
Trade Association, said the measures proposed by the BMA would hit the
pockets of millions of consumers and threaten the livelihoods of
thousands of people working in the drinks industry, media, advertising
He said: "Britain already has amongst the highest taxes on alcohol
"It should be obvious by now that higher taxation and higher prices
don't curb alcohol misuse.
"The drinks industry is funding a major campaign to change drinking
patterns amongst young adults.
"We believe culture change is more likely to be achieved through
long term education and tough enforcement."
OCTOBER 4th 2010
Now at last,
since we are putting people in jail for drug use, it is recognised that
it is there they must be treated.
The Charity RAPT has been doing good work in prisons for nearly 20
years. In the last decade it's success and achievements have become
established. Now at last it seems public recognition may lead to an
expansion of its services.
Before 'Prison' can 'work', there has to be a way to convert them from
colleges of crime and drug dealing to a place where it is understood we
truly do have a 'captive audience' who can be inspired and changed with
the right instruction.
In 1991 RAPt started as
the Addicted Diseases Trust when Peter Bond, a recovering alcoholic,
observed the success of abstinence-based programmes in the United
States. He, Jonathan Wallace and RAPt trustee Michael Meakin, set up a
charity to meet the needs of drug addicts in UK prisons. Jonathan
passed on only recently. You can read the history here:
and here is the story today in The