Wednesday, November 23, 2005

UKers become 24 hour Party People

Tomorrow at this time, bars in the UK will be open twenty-four hours a day! At least, they will have the right to be open for that long provided they have their licenses. This will allow those people who are unfortunate enough to have to work the night shift the chance to have their own 'night' when it's convenient for them. I can see this as being a benefit to waitresses who have endured hours of watching others become messy go out and blow off some steam at 7am themselves if they feel like it.

But it's hard to imagine. Can you picture waking up for breakfast, then going to a rave? Will this new law be an uncontrollable riot? Will excessive drunkeness and debauchery ensue? What if someone needs to steer the ship?

This news is met with mixed feelings from me. On the one hand, I feel that the last call encourages last minute binge drinking, which can lead to drunk driving and violence on the streets. By having bars open for 24 hours, people have the choice to stay longer and sober up before going home. They also have the choice to become around-the-clock alcoholics. It is clear that alcoholism is a major problem in many European countries. France, most notably, exceeds all others in it's alcohol consumption, and binge drinking has been on the rise for the past twenty years. In Toronto, Canada, politicians have been starting to focus on our problem with crack cocaine, but they also want to crack down on underage binge drinkers.

We debated this in class today, skillfully identifying the opponent's red herrings, non-sequitors, and circular arguments. Emotions were high, and several of my team members resembled their opponents, who looked like they wanted to kill. Everyone has an alcoholic relative, someone they knew who was killed by a drunk driver, or heard a story about someone else doing something stupid when they were drunk. Yet, alcohol remains a popular social lubricant, a priveledge, a luxury, that as people old enough to vote (in this country) we feel entitled to.

Well Brits, for better or for worse, lets enjoy the good times.



Blogger Cocaine Jesus said...

What my goverenment are trying to do, and I for one am uncertain if it will work in the UK, is to copy our European partners who seem to be able to handle the concept of buying alchol throughout the day and not getting pissed and wanting to fight everyone.
I spend a lot of time in France where the custom is to have alchol available as and when you want. Few French behave like us Brits.
The concept is a good one and brings us in line with the rest of Europe but the question still remains, can the UK alter its bad habits?
Good post!

9:24 a.m.  
Blogger sirbarrett said...

Yeah, you know what? I don't think it's such a bad idea. Here in Canada it's almost like a micro European situation (even though we can fit countries like Germany in one of our little lakes). The english-speaking provinces have highly regulated alcohol. The underage Americans come to Ontario to get smashed (our age is 19, theirs 21). The underage Ontarians go to Quebec (our age is 19, theirs is 18). Then in Quebec, you can buy it at the depanneur or in grocery stores or whatever, whenever. Bars aren't open 24-7 but they might as well be. You don't see people rip-roaring drunk everywhere. You see them leisurely sipping a glass of wine with their meals. That is fine. What I was arguing during the debate was that any time you make something more scarce, the demand for it increases. So hopefully by making it more accessible in England, you won't have people going on reckless binges. Everyone should relax and drink responsibly. Some people will never change their habits, but hopefully they will be the same people who are banned from bars because they've camped there for several days. A bar is not a place to live, it is a place to drink.
I'm glad you enjoyed the post.

1:13 p.m.  

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