24 November 2005

Relaxation of Late Licensing: Lawlessness Looms?

The Newspapers, eh? God love 'em. Well, someone has to. They've been counting down the days to "Beermageddon", the Day where the UK's Late Licensing Laws are relaxed and social order evaporates in an alcoholic haze1. So, citizens of the world, am I writing this on my garbage-fuelled laptop in my apocalypse-fuelled V8, wearing leather and eating dogfood?

Dissappointingly, no. That was sounding quite idyllic. I am still sat in front of my computer, as normal. Wearing the same old shit, eating a Coronation-Chicken-filled pita pocket, courtesy of RocketBootWife. The alarmist drivel that the Media fabricates to sell newspapers has failed to materialise.

Last night, people were allows to get drunk into the early hours of the morning!. And on a school night, too. The fact that it was a Wednesday night in November on an island where it mostly rains and is frequently cold probably also helped ensure Beermageddon didn't ensue. In fact, that's probably the first sensible move the government has made in a while. I bet it was nothing to do with them at all.

The real test will come when it hits a Bank Holiday Weekend in Spring / Summer. Then the councils up and down the country are going to need "Beer Ploughs" to clear away the drunken stiffs sleeping in the street. Will they? Again, probably not.

We know what happens when controls are removed and people are allowed to go mad. Remember when you were a kid? It's been a productive night out Trick-or-Treating and you've got several hundred pounds of sweeties in your wheelbarrow, enough to last until next year. So do you eke it out over the months? No. You eat your body weight in penny chews and cheap supermarket multipack chocolate in the first thirty seconds, then spend the next 3 hours yerking it all down the toilet. Or your Dad discovers you smoking and makes you smoke the whole pack? Again, three hours hugging the lav. And this is when it's free!

Translate this to alcohol, which is far from free. Drinking time may be expanded, but beer has not become propotionally cheaper. No matter how long you have to get drunk, eventually lack of money will come in to play. Two or Three extra hours drinking time early in the monrning probably translates to £50 extra quid, once you factor in the drunken buying-champagne-for-everyone! sort of idiocy that goes on.

One hopes that the clever people who kicked this off mid-week in November will ensure that morons who spend all their cash on booze and end up penniless and alcoholic do not get to spend the rest of their lives on Booze Support, with a weekly stipend and support groups, but I fear they will. I can hear the whining "The amount I get from Booze Support isn't enough to keep up with the rising cost of drinking!" already. The social sickness of shirking responsibility strikes again!

So, Beermageddon is not here, and probably won't be. One can only hope that the binge drinkers are not rewarded for their action, but this is the First World. Those who should know better are always having to be bailed out by those of us who do.

1 I'm being unwittingly alliterative today...

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